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The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 

Book the First: concerning the Mystery of the Microcosm ... 3 

Book the Second : concerning the Separation of the Elements 10 

Book the Third : on the Separation of the Elements from Metals 15 

Concerning the Separation of the Elements out of Marchasites. Concerning the Separa- 
tion of the Elements from Stones. Concerning the Separation of the Elements from 
Oleaginous Substances. Concerning the Separation of the Elements in Corporeal Resins. 
Concerning the Separation of the Elements from Herbs. Concerning the Separation of the 
Elements from Fleshly Substances. The Separation of the Elements from Fishes. Con- 
cerning the Separation of the Elements from Watery Substances. Concerning the Separation 
of the Elements out of Water. Concerning the Separation of the Elements from Glasses and 
those Substances which are of the Nature of Glass. Concerning the Separation of the 
Elements in Fixed Substances. Concerning the Separation of Fire. Concerning the 
Separation of Air. Concerning the Separation of Water. Concerning the Separation of the 

Book the Fourth: concerning the Quintessence ... ... 22 

Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Metals. Concerning the Extraction 
of the Quintessence from Marchasites. Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from 
Salts. Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Stones, from Gems, and from 
Pearls. Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Burning Things. Concerning 
the Extraction of the Quintessence out of Growing Things. Concerning the Extraction of 
the Quintessence from Spices. Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Eatables 
and Drinkables. 

Book the Fifth : concerning Arcana ... ... ... ... 37 

Concerning the Arcanum of the Primal Matter. Concerning the Arcanum of the Philo- 
sophers' Stone. Concerning the Mercurius Vitae. Concerning the Arcanum of the Tincture. 

Book the Sixth: concerning Magisteries ... ... ... ... 48 

Concerning the Extraction of the Magistery from Metals. The Extraction of the Magis- 
tery out of Pearls, Corals, and Gems. Concerning the Extraction of the Magistery out of 
Marchasites. Concerning the Extraction of the Magistery from Fatty Substances. The 
Extraction of the Magistery from Growing Things. Concerning the Extraction of the 
Magistery out of Blood. 

vi. The Her7nettc and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus, 


Book the Seventh : concerning Specifics ... ... ... ... 59 

Concerning the Odoriferous Specific. Concerning the Anodyne Specific. Concerning 
the Diaphoretic Specific. Concerning the Purgative Specific. Concerning the Attractive 
Specific. Concerning the Styptic Specific. Concerning the Corrosive Specifics. Concerning 
the Specific of the Matrix. 

Book the Eighth : concerning- Elixirs ... ... ... ... 69 

On Preservation and Conservation by Elixirs. Concerning the First Elixir, that is, of 
Balsam. Concerning the Elixir of Salt, by the force of which the body is conserved. Con- 
cerning the Third Elixir, namely, of Sweetness. Concerning the Fourth Elixir, which is 
that of Quintessences. The Fifth Elixir is that of Subtlety. The Sixth Elixir, which Is that 
of Propriety. 

Book the Ninth: concerning External Diseases... ... ... 77 

A Remedy for Wounds. A Remedy for Ulcer. A Remedy against Spots. 

Book the Tenth : the Key of Theophrastus Paracelsus Bombast 
von Hohenheim, from a German Manuscript Codex of Great 
Antiquity. Comprised in a Preface and Ten Separate 
Chapters ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Si 

The Preface. Chapter I. : concerning the Separation of the Elements. Chapter II. : 
concerning the Quintessence. Chapter III. : concerning Magisteries. The Preparation of 
Circulated Salt. Chapter IV. : concerning First Entities ; and primarily concerning the 
Extraction of the Quintessence or First Entity of Common Mercury. Chapter V. : con- 
cerning Arcana. Chapter VI. ; concerning the Arcanum of the Stone, or of the Heaven of 
the Metals. Chapter VII. : concerning the Arcanum of the Mercurius Vitse. Chapter VIII. : 
concerning the Great Composition, being the chief of our secrets in medicine. Chapter IX. : 
concerning the Corporal Balsam, or Mercury of the Sun. Chapter X. : concerning the 
Composition of the Spiritual Balsam, and of the Balsam of the Coagulated Body. 

The Manual or Treatise concerning the Medicinal Philosophic 

Stone 94 

Preface to the Reader, The Preparation of the Matter of the Stone. The Remainder of 
the Preparation. The Use of the Stone. 

A Book concerning Long Life ... ... 108 

The Book concerning Renovation and Restoration ... ... ... 124 

The First Entity of Minerals. The First Entity of Gems. The First Entity of Herbs. 
The First Entity of Liquids. 

A Little Book concerning the Quintessence .,. j^^ 

Concerning the Quintessence out of Oil, also of the Salt of the same. Concerning the Oil 
or Quintessence of Silver and its Salt. Oil of Mars. Oil of Saturn. Oil and Salt of Jupiter. 
Of the Quintessence of Antimony. Concernihg Oil and Salt out of Marchasite. Oil out of 
Common Salt. Oil and Salt of Coral, also of Cr^'stal. Oil and Salt of Pearls. Of the 
Essence and Salt of Things growing on the Earth. The Method of separating Oil and Salt 
from Oil of Olives. Red Water out of Oil of Olives. Manufacture of Salt from the Red 
Water. Method of Extracting the Oil and Salt from Pepper. Oil out of Gums. Preparation 
of Colocynth. 

Alchemy the Third Column of Medicine 


The Labyrinthus Medicorum concerning; the Book of Alchemy, 

without which no one can become a Physician ... ... jg 


Table of Contents. 



Concerning the Degrees and Compositions of Recipes and of 
Natural Things in Alchemy. 

The Preface of Theophrastus Eremite of Hohenheim to those • 
desirous of the Medical Art 

Book the First 

Book the Second 

Book the Third .. 

Book the Fourth 

Book the Fifth 

Concerning Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 

Treatise I. : concerning Antimony and Marcasite of Silver, 
White and Red Cachimia, Fluidic and Solid Talc, Thutia, 
Calamine, and Litharge ... 

Treatise II. : concerning Bloodstone, Arsenic, Sulphur, Saxi- 
frage, and Orpiment 

Treatise III.: concerning Gems, transparent and otherwise; 
Corals, the Magnet, Crystal, Rubies, Garnets, Sapphires, 
Emeralds, Hyacinths, etc. 

Treatise IV. : concerning Salts, including Sal Gemmae, Sal 
Entali, Sal Peregrinorum, Aluminous Salt, Sal Alkali, Sal 
Nitri, Sal Anatron, Sal Terrse, and Salt from Vitriol 

Treatise V. : concerning Metals, namely, Gold, Silver, Tin, 
Copper, Iron, Lead, Mercury 

The Alchemical Process and Preparation of the Spirit of Vitriol, 
by which the Four Diseases are cured, namely. Epilepsy, Dropsy, 
Small Pox; and Gout. To abolish those errors which are usually 
committed by Philosophers, Artists, and Physicians 

The Process. An Addendum on Vitriol. Of the Oil of Red Vitriol. The White and 
Green Oil of Vitriol. 

The Alchemist of Nature, being the Spagyric Doctrine concerning 
the Entity of Poison 












The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 

Book the First 


viii. The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


Book the Second ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 263 

Book THE Third 277 

Hermetic Astronomy. 

Preface to the Interpretation of the Stars 282 

The Interpretation of the Stars 284 

The End of the Birth and the Consideration of the Stars 289 

Concerning Man and the Matter out of which man was made. Astrology. Magic. 
Divination. Nigromancy. Signature. Uncertain Arts. Manual Art. Proof in Astrological 
Science. Proof in the Science of Magic. Proof in the Science of Divination. Proofs in 
Nigromancy. Proof in the Science of Signature. Proof in Uncertain Arts. The End of the 
Proof in Uncertain Arts. Proof in Manual Mathematical Science. Concerning the Know- 
ledge of Star5. Another Schedule. Schedule concerning the Proof of Magic. 

Appendix I.: concerning the Three Prime Essences ... ... ... 317 

Appendix II. : a Book concerning Long Life. 

Book the First ... 
Book the Second 
Book the Third 
Book the Fourth 


Appendix III. : a Short Lexicon of Alchemy, explaining the chief 

Terms used by Paracelsus and other Hermetic Philosophers ... 348 

Index 387 


Hermetic Medicine. 



Concerning the Mystery of the Microcosm.! 

IF, my dearest sons, we consider the misery by which we are detained in a 
gross and gloomy dwelling, exposed to hunger and to many and various 
accidents, from all sources, by which we are overwhelmed and surrounded, 
we see that we could scarcely flourish, or even live, so long as we followed 
the medicine prescribed by the ancients. Kor we were continually hedged in 
by calamities and bitter conditions, and were bound with terrible chains. 
Every day things became worse with us, as with others who were weighed in 
the same balance, whom also the ancients have not so far been able to help or 
to heal by means of their books. We do not in this place advance the different 
causes of this misfortune. This only we say, that many teachers by following 
the ancient methods have acquired for themselves much wealth, credit, and 
renown, though they did not deserve it, but got together such great resources 
by simple lies. From which consideration we have wished to elaborate and 
write this memorial work of ours, that we might arrive at a more complete and 
happier method of practice, since there are presented to us those mysteries 
of Nature which are too wonderful to be ever thoroughly investigated. 

• The ten books of the Archidoxies stand in the same relation to Hermetic Medicine as the nine books Concerning 
the Nature of Things stand to Hermetic Chemistry and the science of metallic transmutation. They appear to have 
been reckoned among the most important works of Paracelsus, and the editions are exceedingly numerous. That 
which has been selected for translation is derived from the Geneva folio. 

t The Microcosmos itself is to be understood thus,. namely, as consisting of the four elements, and it is these invisibly. 
It is formed after the image of Him who created all things, and yet it has remained a creature. Therefore, it is par- 
tially one with the earth, because like the earth it has need of the other elements, heaven, air, and fire.— Z?*f Hydropisi. 
This, therefore, is the condition of the Microcosmos, or smaller world. It contains in its body all the minerals of the 
world. Consequently the body acquires its own medicine from the world. Hence it is clear that all minerals are 
useful to man, if any one of these be joined to its corresponding mineral in the body of the Microcosm. He who lacks 
this knowledge is by no meansaphilosopher or physician, for if a physician affirms that a certain marcasite is useful for 
this or that, it is first of all needful that he should know what is the marcasite of the world and what is the marcasite 
of the human body. — Paramirum^ Lib. IV. De Matrice. There is a vast variety of things contained in the body of 
the Microcosm which elude the observation of the senses, though God, the Creator, has willed them to exist in that 
structure. There are, for example, more than a thousand species of trees, stones, minerals, manna, and metals. Even 
as the incredible magnitude of the Sun appears small to us by reason of its distance, so other things may be made to 
look small which are placed nearer at hand, and thus we come to understand that He who filled the shell of the heaven 
with so many and such great bodies, was able to include as many and as great wonders in the body of the Microcosm. 
Accordingly, know that the mysteries of the Microcosm are to be mystically understood— that is, we are no to measure 
local things according to proportion or substance, but must all the more arduously enquire in what matter we are to 
expect the efifect of any agent.—/?* Causis et Origine Luis Gallicm^ Lib. V., c. lo. 


4 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Wherefore we have come to consider how that art can be reconciled with the 
mysteries of Nature, in opposition to those who, so far, have not been able 
to arrive at the art at all. 

The strength of this mystery of Nature is hindered by the bodily structure, 
just as if one were bound in a prison with chains and fetters. From this the 
mind is free. For in its operation this mystery is like fire in green wood, 
which seeks to burn, but cannot on account of the moisture. 

Since, then, hindrance arises from this source, one had to see how to get 
free from it. For such freedom being secured, this art of separation can only 
be compared to the art of the apothecaries, as light is compared to darkness. 
And this we say not in mere arrogance, but on account of the great frauds 
practised by apothecaries and physicians. Wherefore, not undeservedly, we 
call them darkness, or caves of robbers and impostors, since in them many 
persons are treated for gain by ignorant men ; persons who, if they were not 
rich, would at once be pronounced healthy, since the practitioners know that 
there is no remedy or help for these people in their consultations. 

This, then, is worthy to be called an art, which teaches the mysteries of 
Nature ; which, by means of the quintessence, can cure a contraction and 
bring about health in the space of four days, whereas otherwise death would 
be the result. A wound, too, can be healed in twenty-four hours, which 
would scarcely yield to bodily treatment in as many days. Let us, therefore, 
readily approach by experiment this separation of the mysteries of Nature 
from the hindrances of the body. 

First, then, we have to consider what is of all things most useful to man 
and most excellent. It is to learn the mysteries of Nature, by which we can 
discover what God is and what man is, and what avails a knowledge of heavenly 
eternity and earthly weakness. Hence arises a knowledge of theology, of 
justice, of truth, since the mysteries of Nature are the only true life of man, 
and those things are to be imitated which can be known and obtained from 
God as the Eternal Good. For although many things are gained in medicine, 
and many more in the mysteries of Nature, nevertheless after this life the 
Eternal Mystery remains, and what it is we have no foundation for asserting, 
save that which has been revealed to us by Christ. And hence arises the 
ignorant stupidity of theologians, who try to interpret the mysteries of God, 
whereof they know not the least jot ; and what it is not possible for man to 
formulate, namely, the will of Him who gave the mystery. But that word of 
His they twist to their own pride and avarice ; from whence arise misleading 
statements, which every day increase more and more. Hence it comes that 
we lightly value, nay, think nothing at all of that reason which is not 
evidently founded on the mysteries. In like manner the jurists have sanc- 
tioned laws according to their own opinions, which shall secure themselves 
against loss, though the safety of the State be imperilled. 

Seeing, then, that in these faculties so many practices have come into 
vogue which are contrary to equity, let us dismiss the same to their proper time. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 5 

Nor do we care much for the vain talk of those who say more about God than 
He has revealed to them, and pretend to understand Him so thoroughly as if 
they had been in his counsels ; in the meantime abusing us and depreciating 
the mysteries of Nature and of philosophy, about all of which they are utterly 
ignorant. The dishonest cry of these men is their principal knowledge, 
whereby they give themselves out to be those on whom our faith depends, and 
without whom heaven and earth would perish. 

O consummate madness and imposture on the part of human creatures, 
in place whereof it would be more just that they should esteem themselves to 
be nought but unprofitable servants ! Yet we, by custom imitating them, 
easily learn, together with them, to bend the word of our Teacher and Creator 
to our own pride. But since this word is not exactly known to us, can only 
be apprehended by faith, and is founded on no human reason, however 
specious, let us rather cast off this yoke, and investigate the mysteries of 
Nature, the end whereof approves the foundation of truth ; and not only let us 
investigate these, but also the mysteries which teach us to fulfil the highest 
charity. And that is the treasure of the chief good which in this writing of 
our Archidoxies we understand in a material way. 

From the aforesaid foundation we have drawn our medicine by experi- 
ment, wherein it is made clear to the eye that things are so. Then, coming 
to its practice, we divide this our book of Archidoxies into ten, as a sort of aid 
to the memory, so that we may not forget these matters, and at the same time 
may speak of them so far openly that we may be understood by our disciples, 
but not by the common people, for whom we do not wish these matters 
to be made too clear. We do not care to open our mind and thoughts and 
heart to those deaf ears, just as we do not wish to disclose them to 
impious men ; but we shall endeavour to shut off our secrets from them by 
a strong wall and a key. And if by chance this our labour shall not be I 
sufficiently safeguarded from those idiots who are enemies of all true arts, we 
shall forbear writing the tenth book, concerning the uses of those which 
precede it, so that we may not give the children's meat to the dogs. 
Nevertheless, the other nine will be sufficiently understood by our own 

And, to speak more plainly of these matters, it must be known that in 
this treatise on the microcosm are proved and demonstrated all those points 
which it contains, which also embrace medicine, as well as those matters 
which are interconnected therewith. The subject of the microcosm is bound 
up with medicine and ruled by it, following it none otherwise than a bridled 
horse follows him who leads it, or a mad dog bound with chains. In 
this way I understand that medicine attracts Nature and everything that has 
life. Herein three things meet us, which shew by what forces they are 
filled and produced. Firstly, in what way the five senses are assisted by 
the mysteries of Nature, though those senses do not proceed from Nature, 
nor spring naturally as a herb from its seed, since there is no material which 

6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

produces them. Secondly, the mobility of the body is to be considered : 
whence it proceeds, by what power it is moved and exercised, and in what 
manner it is ministered to. Thirdly, there must be a knowledge of all the 
forces in the body, and what forces apply to each member, and are trans- 
muted according to the same nature as the particular limb, when originally 
they are identical in Nature. 

First, then, we will speak of these senses : sight, hearing, touch, taste, 
and smell. The following example teaches us. The eyes have a material 
substance, of which they are composed, as it is handed down in the com- 
position of the body. So of the other senses. But vision itself does not 
proceed from the same source as the eye ; nor the hearing from sound, or from 
the same source as the ears ; nor touch from flesh, nor taste from the tongue, 
nor smell from the nostrils, any more than reason proceeds from the 
brain'; but these are the bodily instruments, or rather the envelopes in which 
the senses are born. For it must not be understood that these senses depend 
solely on the favourof God, in the sense that they do not belong to the nature 
of man, but are infused solely by the grace of God above and beyond all 
Nature, to the end that, if one were born blind, the mighty works of God 
might be made known to us. We must not think so in this case. For the 
abovementioned senses have each their own body, imperceptible, impalpable, 
just as the root of the body, on the other hand, exists in a tangible form. For 
man is made up of two portions, that is to say, of a material and a 
spiritual body. Matter gives the body, the blood, the flesh ; but spirit gives 
hearing, sight, feeling, touch, and taste. When, therefore, a man is born 
deaf, this happens from a defect of the domicile in which hearing should be 
quartered. For the spiritual body does not complete its work in a situation 
which is badly disposed. 

Herein, then, are recognised the mighty things of God, that there are two 
bodies, an eternal and a corporeal, enclosed in one, as is made clear in the 
Generation of Men.* Medicine acts upon the house by purging it, so that the 
spiritual body may be able to perfect its actions therein, like civet in a pure 
and uncontaminated casket. 

Coming next to the power of motion in the body, let us inquire whence it 
is produced and has its origin, that is, how the body unites itself to the medi- 
cine so that the faculty of motion is increased. The matter is thus to be 
understood. Everything that lives has its own motion from Nature. This is 

* The treatise De Generatione Hominis^ to which reference is here made, appears to he fragmentary in character. 
It regards the generation of all growing things as twofold — one where the nature and the semen are contained in a 
single essence, the other where the essence of the nature exists without the semen. In man it recognises the existence 
of four complexions, and it distinguishes between the outward and the interior man. Men, as regards their mortal part, 
are nothing but mere cattle. There is, however, an internal man wherein there is no nature of the animal, and to 
consider him in this his true nature must be counted among the highest branches of philosophy. There is an immortal 
as well as a corruptible body of man, and it is in this, by the infusion of God's power, that reason, discernment, wisdom, 
doctrine, art, and generally whatsoever is above mortality, do alone inhere. Man, therefore, endowed with wisdom 
and subtlety, can emerge from his external body. All wisdom and intelligence which man enjoys is eternal with this 
body, and man the interior can live after another manner than can man the outer. This internal man is illustrated and 
clothed upon with truth for ever. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 7 

sufficiently proved of itself so far as natural motion is concerned. But the 
motion of which we think may be described as that which springs from the 
will, as, for example, in lifting the arm one may ask how this is done, when I 
do not see any instrument by which I influence it ; but that takes place which 
I desire to take place. So one must judge with leaping, walking, running, and 
other matters which occur in opposition to, or outside of, natural motion. 
They have their origin in this, that intention, a powerful mistress, exists above 
my notions in the following manner. The intention or imagination kindles 
the vegetative faculty as the fire kindles wood— as we describe more particu- 
larly in our treatise on the Imagination.* Nowhere is it more powerful to 
fulfil its operations than in its own body where it exists and lives. So, in every 
body, nothing is more easily kindled than the vegetative soul, because it runs 
and walks by itself and is disposed for this very purpose. For, even as a 
hidden or buried fire blazes forth so soon as it is exposed and catches the air, 
so my mind is intent upon seeing something. I cannot with my hands direct 
my eyes whither I will ; but my imagination turns them whithersoever it is 
my pleasure to look. So, too, as to my motion must it be judged. If I 
desire to advance and arbitrarily propose this to myself, at once my body is 
directed to one or the other place fixed on by myself. And the more this is 
impressed on me by my imagination and thought, the more quickly I run. In 
this way. Imagination is the motive-power of my running. None otherwise 
does medicine purify those bodies in which there is a spiritual element, whence 
it happens that their motion is more easily perfected. 

Thirdly, it must be understood that in the body a distribution is made 
over all the members ot everything which is presented to it, either without or 
within. In this distribution a change takes place by which things are modified, 
so that one part subserves the constitution of the heart, another accommodates 
itself to the nature of the brain ; and of the rest in like manner. For the 
body attracts to itself in two ways, from within and from without. Within, it 
attracts whatever is taken through the mouth. Externally, it attracts air, 

« De Virtute Iinaginativa is another treatise which has survived only in a mutilated state. It further insists on 
the division of man into two bodies, the one visible and the other invisible, but is devoted to the consideration of the 
second only- The imagination is the mouth of the body which is not visible. It is also the sun of man which acts 
within its own sphere after the manner of the celestial luminary. It irradiates the earth, which is man, just as the 
material sun shines upon the material world. As the one operates corporeally, so works the other, after a parallel 
manner, spuitually. And as the sun sends its force on a spot which it shines upon, so also the imagination, like a star, 
bursts upon the thing which it affects. Nor are all things posited in heat and cold only, but in every operation. As 
the sun works corporeally and effects this or that, so also the imagination, by giving fire and fuel, effects all things 
which the sim effects, not that it has need of instruments, but that it makes those things with which it burns. Consider 
the matter as follows : He who wishes to burn anything needs flint, fire, fuel, brimstone, a candle, etc., and so he 
obtains fire ; but if the sun seeks to burn, it requires none of these things, doing all things together and at once, no one 
beholding its steel. Such also is the imagination. It tinges and paints its own surface, but no one sees its pencil, 
ceruse, or pigments ; all things take place with it at once, just as fire from the sun bursts forth without any corporeal 
instrument. Let no one, therefore, be surprised that' from the imagination corporeal works should proceed, since similar 
results are manifest with other things. The whole heaven, indeed, is nothing else but an imagination. Heaven works 
in man, stirs up pests, fevers, and other things, but it does not produce these by corporeal instruments, but after the 
same manner that the sun burns. The sun, indeed, is of one power only, the moon of one power only, and every 
separate star is of one power only. Man, however, is altogether a star. Evei>"as he imagines himself to be, such he is, 
and he is that also which he imagines. If he imagines fire, there results fire ; if war, there ensues war ; and so on in 
like manner. This is the whole reason why the imagination is in itself a complete sun. 

8 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

earth, water, and fire. Thus, then, the subject is to be arranged and defined. 
Those matters which are received from within need not be described. They 
are known by the foundation of our nature, what they are which are distri- 
buted, and we shall speak subsequently as to their division. But, externally, 
one must understand whatever is necessary to itself the body attracts from the 
four elements. Unless this were done the internal nutriment would not suffice 
to sustain the life of man. For instance, moisture, not existing constitu- 
tionally in the body, is extracted by the body itself from water, whence it 
happens that if one stands or sits in water, it is not necessary that he satisfies 
his thirst from without. It does not, indeed, take place in the same way that 
heat is extinguished by water, like fire ; but the internal heat attracts to itself 
the moisture from without, and imbibes it just as though it were from within. 
Hence it happens that in the Alps cattle are able to remain the whole summer 
without drinking ; the air is drink for them, or supplies its place : and the 
same should be judged with regard to man. 

The nature of man, too, may be sustained in the absence of food, if the 
feet are planted in the earth. Thus we have seen a man who lived six 
months without food and was sustained only by this method : he wore a clod 
of earth on his stomach, and, when it got dry, took a new and fresh one. 
He declared that during the whole of that time he never felt hungry. The 
cause of this we shew in the treatise on the Appetite of Nature.* 

So, in the matter of medicine, we have seen a man sustain himself for 
many years by the quintessence of gold, taking each day scarcely half a 
scruple of it. In the same way, there have been many others who for so long 
as twenty years ate nothing, as I remember to have seen in our times. This 
was by some attributed to the piety and goodness of the persons themselves, 
or even to God, which idea we would be the last to impugn or to criticise. 
But this, nevertheless, is an operation of Nature ; insomuch that sorrow and 
mental despondency take away hunger and thirst to such an extent that the 
body can sustain itself for many years by its own power of attraction. So, 
then, food and drink are not thus arranged that it is absolutely necessary we 
should eat bread or meats, or drink wine or water, but we are able to sustain 
our life on air and on clods of earth ; and whatever is appointed for food, we 
should beheve is so appointed that we should taste and try it, as we shall 
shew more at length in the " Monarchy of God."t Let us, however, concede 
this point — that on account of our labours and such things, it cannot be that 
we do without temporal and bodily food, and that for many causes. Where- 
fore food was ordained for this purpose, just as medicine was against diseases. 

We will make a distinction of things entering into the body after the 
following fashion, that they are distributed through every part of it none 
otherwise than as if ardent wine be poured into water. The water acquires 

* There is no treatise extant on tiie Appetite of Nahtre. 

t Thiere is alio no treatise extant under the title of The Monarchy of God. The Aurora of the Philosophers ia 
the Mouarchla of Paracelsus^ but, as will be seen, it is wholly chemical. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. g 

the odour of the wine because the wine is distributed through its whole 
volume ; and, in the same way, when ink is poured into wine the whole of the 
wine is thereby blackened. 

So, too, in the human body, the vital moisture immediately diffuses 
whatever is received, and more quickly than in the examples we have cited. 

But under what form the substance received becomes transmuted depends | 
entirely on the nature of the members that receive it, just as if bread be \ 
conveyed into a man it becomes the flesh of a man, if into a fish the flesh of a | 
fish, and so on. In the same way, it must be understood that the substances ; 
received are transmuted by the natural power of the members, and are 
appropriated according to the nature of the parts which take them up. A 
like judgment must be passed upon medicines, namely, that they are trans- 
muted into members according to the properties of those members. For the 
limbs gain their own force and virtue from the substance of medicines peculiar 
to themselves, according to the good or bad dispersion of them, and according 
as the medicine itself was subtle or gross. This is the case with the 
quintessence ; its transmutation will be stronger and more effectual. But if it 
be thick it remains the same, just as a picture acquires its tint, its beauty, or 
its deformity from its colours, and if these be more vivid it will be the same. 
Wherefore, in order that we may have experience of like matters to fall back 
upon in those things which happen to us, and that we may lay them up in our 
memory, so as to have them ready in case of need, we will write these nine 
books, keeping the tenth shut up in our own brain on account of the thankless 
idiots. Nevertheless, to our own disciples, these things shall be made 
sufficiently clear. 

And let no one wonder at the school of our learning. Though it be 
contrary to the courses and methods of the ancients, still it is firmly based on 
experience, which is mistress of all things, and by which all arts should be 

The End of the Prologue and of the First Book of the Archidoxies 
ON the Microcosm, out of the Theophrastia. 

From the Theophrastia of Paracelsus Theophrastus. 

Concerning the Separations of the Elements.* 

BEFORE we approach a description of the separations of the elements, 
we shall explain this separation, for the greater and clearer under- 
standing thereof, seeing that certain matters written about the generation 
of things are not altogether consonant with the separations of the elements. 
For every matter is more readily brought to its appropriate end, where mature 
and intellectual consideration is given beforehand as to what its end may be. 
Thence the practice becomes clearer. We say, then, that the four elements 
exist together in all things, and out of them arises to every one of these things 
its predestined condition. In this way you may understand how it comes 
about that these four elements, differing so widely from one another, are 
able to agree and coexist without mutual destruction. Whereas the mixture 
of the elements is united and strengthened by predestination, it results that 
no weight is taken account of in them, but the power of one is greater than 
of another ; by which, indeed, it is understood that in the digest and ferment 
of the predestination, that which is strongest will preponderate and conquer 
and subdue the other elements. In this way, the remaining three elements 
cannot attain their perfection, but stand related to that perfect element as 

* The light of Nature teaches that God has separated and divided everything, so that it can exist by itself. Thus 
are separated light and darkness without any mutual damage, as day and night prove. Moreover, He has also 
separated the metals, each into its property. Thus, gold has its vein, iron has its minera, silver has its brilliancy. 
Lastly, every metal has its proper domicile. Moreover, He has separated from one another the marcasites and the 
genera of salts ; in the same manner also summer and winter, elements, herbs, fruits, and every growing thing, so that 
we hence see how God has created various species from a single Iliaster, while the species of his workshop surpass all 
the number of the sands. He has so adorned heaven and earth that what they contain can never be sufficiently 
recognised and considered. — Dc Balneis Piperinis^ c. i. The philosophy of separation in preparing specifics is thus 
developed in treating of the cure of ulcers. You must also understand concerning separation that there is nothing so 
noxious but that it has its peculiar use, like the spider, which in addition to its venom possesses a marvellous power for 
curing all chronic fevers. Good and bad are equally necessary in the constitution of our arcanum, for both the venom 
and the antidote, the sweet and the bitter, are in the body. Further, it has been proved that all colours and all 
savours exist in the body. Inasmuch as there exist three colours in Saturn— yellow, white, and red ; in Mars also 
three— purple, red, and black ; notwithstanding neither Saturn nor Mars are a colour. Thus we must judge it to be the 
case with the colours of Salts by means of separation ; and just as the redness of Saturn tinges with a red and the 
yellow with a yellow colour, by virtue of separation, similarly, alumen works as alumen and salt as salt in ulcers. 
Concerning the wonders of separation it should be remembered what happens concerning vinegar. Who would judge by 
his senses that vinegar was present in uncorrupted wine? Nevertheless, no one can doubt that it is there. Similarly 
in Venus there is vitriol. Indeed, Venus herself is vitriol, and by separation can be reduced into vitriol. Yet no one 
would rightly say that Venus was vitriol. Wherefore we must judge concerning separation that it is of the form but 
not of the species, as in the conversion of Venus into a 5&'it.—Chir7irgia Mngna^ Part III., Lib. IV. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. ii 

the light matter in wood. Wherefore they are not to be called elements, since 
they are not all perfect, but only one. When, therefore, we speak of the four 
elements, which finally exist in all things, we are not to understand definitely 
so that there are four perfect elements therein, but that there is only one 
such finished element, the rest remaining imperfect through the potency of 
that excelling element. Hence it happens that they are able to meet and 
coexist, because in three of them there is no perfection. On which account, 
too, no corruption can prevail by reason of their contrarieties. Moreover, 
that an element is predominant in one kind arises from the fact that it is 
hereto predestinated. Hence no corruption or confusion can accrue, as we 
lay it down in our treatise on Generations.* 

Since, then, there is only one element specially present in everything, it 
avails not to seek the four elements in things, seeing that three of these 
elements are not in a state of perfection. In a word, we must understand 
that the four elements are in all things, but not actually four complications. 
The matter stands thus : A substance contains water, and then it is nenu- 
far. Besides this element there exists in it no earth, air, or fire. There 
is no appearance of heat or dryness in it. It has no peculiar operation ; 
but the predestination thereof is water ; and the element of water is the 
only one under which is no dryness nor heat, according to its congenital 
nature. Though matters be thus, however, yet notwithstanding the three 
elements are involved in it, still the things have not their origin in those three 
elements which are not produced in a perfect state, nor have they beginning 
or aid from them, but from that predestinated element which is united to 
and impressed upon that particular kind. 

Now, although this is at variance with the vulgar philosophy, namely, 
that one predestinated element has of its own nature the other three elements 
cohering with it, still it is credible that the element and the substance differ 
the one from the other. It may be understood thus : the substance is not 
from that element which gives thereto its special tinge and elementary form ; 
nor, again, are these elements from the substance, but they agree at the 
same time uniformly, as the body and soul agree. But now every body, as 
for example of some growing thing, has its own conformation ; so has the 
element. Although the element itself is not visible in the body of the growing 
thing, or tangible, or demonstrable, because the element is stronger, by 
reason of its subtlety, and subdues the other elements of the growing thing. 
They are all, however, in the body, but imperceptibly, just as when water is 
mixed with vinegar the water becomes like the vinegar ; and although the 
vinegar shall have changed the whole essence of the water, still the complex- 
ion of the water remains unchanged, nor does it on that account become 

* Both from the text and the notes of this translation the reader will see that there are several treatises by 
Paracelsus on Generations of various kinds, not excepting some fragments upon the generation of fools, who appear, in 
the days of Paracelsus, to have abounded in the high places of science and religion. The reference above may be 
either to the Generation 0/ the Elements or to the first book Concerning the Nature of Things. 

12 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

vinegar, but remains water as it was before. And although it does not display 
the properties of water, yet it does not follow that it does not still possess 
those properties. 

In these propositions we wish to make it clear in what way the separations 
of the elements are to be brought about, concerning which two methods of 
practice need to be understood. One is that with which agrees the separation 
of the predestined element, and this we shall elucidate in our treatise on the 
Quintessence. The other is that to which belong the four substantial 
elements in growing things. By this it is understood that the Quintessence 
exists as a predestined element, and that it cannot be separated from itself, 
but only from the three elements, as follows in the treatise on the Quintessence. 
But when we speak of the separations of the four elements, we understand 
those four which are essentially in the body. Hence have arisen various 
errors, because the four elements have been sought in the predestined element, 
and also in addition the Quintessence, which cannot in any way come to pass. 

Moreover, it must be known when the elements of bodies are to be 
separated, that one exists as fire, another as water, a third is like air, and a 
fourth like earth, according to their complications, because elements sometimes 
appear with their own forms, and at other times with complications, for 
example, water as water, air as air, earth as earth, and fire as fire. These 
matters must be subtly understood, and this can be done by means of a 
similitude, if they are taken for the union of the elements not visibly or in act, 
or according to the element of fire, but as the environment is warm and dry 
like fire. In this way its own nature, essence, and condition is assigned to 
each element, without any breach of propriety. For it is not supposed, 
because any particular herb is especially warm, as the nettle, that on this 
account it contains within itself more fire, but rather it is supposed that its 
own Quintessence is warmer than the Quintessence of the chamomile, which, 
indeed, has less heat. But the elements of a body receive less or more from 
their own substance, as, for instance, wood contains within itself more fire 
than herbs do ; and, in like manner, stones have in them more dryness and 
earth than resins have. Note, also, in like manner, that the bulk and quantity 
of degree in a Quintessence arises from the predestined element. And the 
intensity of degree in bodily elements springs out of the appearance of the 
substance which is unlike. 

But we must come to the practice of separating bodily elements from all 
other things, and this is twofold. One, indeed, teaches us to draw out the 
three elements from the pure elements as from burning fire, from invisible 
air, from true earth, and in like manner from natural water, which have not 
an origin similar to the preceding ones. Another method of practice is with 
those things out of which these four elements exist, as we have said above, 
with such difference, however, that this exhibits more of the element of fire, 
of water, of earth, or of air, with a likeness to the form of the essential 
elements. When they have been separated in this way they can never be 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus, 13 

further dissolved, for instance, it is impossible that they should be corrupted 
beyond their complexions. 

It must also be considered that the elements are found by separation to 
be formally like the essential elements. For air appears like air ; and the 
same cannot in any way be enclosed, as some falsely think, for this reason, 
because at once, in the moment of separation, it levitates itself, and sometimes 
bursts forth as wind, and ascends sometimes with the water, sometimes with 
the earth, and at other times with the fire. And, indeed, this levitation or 
elevation in the air is very wonderful. Just as if the air were to be separated 
from the essential element of water, it would be done by boiling. When 
this begins to take place the air is soon separated from the water, carries off 
with itself the very light substance of the water, and in proportion as the 
water is diminished, so the air itself decreases according to its proportion and 

And it must be remarked here that no one of the elements can be 
conceived or had without air, though of the rest one can be had without 
another. We do not, therefore, undertake the task of separating the air, 
since it is in the other three elements, just as life is in the body. For when it 
is separated from the body all things perish, as we clearly shew in the 
following practical treatise on separations. Four methods must be considered 
at this point ; one, indeed, in watery bodies, that is, in herbs, which have 
more water than any of the other elements. A second is in fiery bodies, such 
as woods, resins, oils, roots, and the like, which contain within themselves 
more of the fiery substance than of others. A third is to be understood of 
earthy bodies, which are stones, clays, and earths. The fourth is airy, and 
this is in all the other three, as we have mentioned. In like manner, also, 
concerning the pure elements, there are just so many ways to be considered, 
in the same manner as has been said above concerning the four preceding. 

Hence it is easy to learn what the elements are, and how they are to 
be separated. And among these the separations of the metals first meet us, 
wherein there are peculiar predestined virtues which are wanting in the other 
elements. For, although all the elements are alike in form, in heat, in cold, 
in moisture, and in dryness, still, the dryness or damp, or heat or cold, is not 
the same in one as in another. In some it is appropriative, but in others 
specific ; and this in various ways, as in each kind they are produced 
peculiarly and essentially, since no kind of the elements is precisely like 
another in its properties. 

So, also, it must be laid down with regard to the separation of mar- 
chasites, which differ from other substances both in the practice and in their 
elementary nature. For every kind is disposed in a particular separation, and 
must be dealt with in a special way. Stones and gems must demonstrate 
their elements afterwards, since they appear in no way similar to the others. 

Then, too, salts exist in a peculiar and most excellent nature, with more 
abundant properties than appear in other substances. There is also a diff^erent 

14 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

essence in herbs, which in no way agree with minerals, nor can they be alike 
so far as relates to their nature. Moreover, the property of woods, of fruits, 
of barks, and the like, is peculiar ; so, too, of flesh, of drinks, and all 
comestibles, and of things not good or pure, but bad and impure, which have 
to be separated into their elements. 

Of that separation concerning which we think, two methods are found. 
One consists of the separation of any element confined by itself in a peculiar 
vessel, without the corruption of its own forces, the air excepted. 

There is another method of the separation of the pure from the impure 
from among the four elements, namely, in the following way. After the 
elements have been separated, that is to say, one from the other, they have 
still a dense substance ; and, on this account, there follows another similar 
separation of the already separated elements. Now, we purpose to make 
clear the practical method in all these cases. For in the first place it must be 
known that the quintessence of things is to be separated and extracted in this 
way, because, indeed, the elements of bodies in the nature of a quintessence 
are not subdued but are left with them. So it is able to tinge these elements 
more strongly or more lightly. Hence it comes to be understood that the 
forces in the elements do not perish when the predestined element, that is, the 
quintessence, is extracted ; for this itself is elemental and separable so far as 
relates to its elementary form, but not as to diverse natures, as is clear from 
the treatise on the quintessence. 

By separations of this kind all elemental infirmities can be cured by one 
simple method, namely, if the one set of predestinations oppose the other, as 
we have laid it down in the treatise on predestinations. In these words we 
have sufficiently unfolded the initial stage of separations. Wherefore we 
can now speed on to the practice of them ; and here there is a tenfold variety : 
one of metals ; a second of marchasites ; a third of stones ; a fourth of 
oleaginous matters ; a fifth of resins ; a sixth of herbs ; a seventh of flesh ; 
an eighth of juices ; a ninth of vitreous substances ; and a tenth of fixed 
things. For these separations of the elements three methods are adopted : 
one by distillations ; a second by calcinations ; and the third by sublimations. 
In these are comprised all the exercises, as the application of the hands to 
the fire, the labour, and other necessary things which will be specified in the 
following pages. 

The End of the Second Book of the Archidoxies and of the 
First Part concerning the Separation of the Elements. 

From the Theophrastia of Paracelsus the Great. 

On the Separations of the Elements from Metals. 

FOR the separation of the elements from metals there is need of the best 
instruments, of labour, of diligence, together with experience of the 
art and adaptation of the hands to this work. 

Take salt nitre, vitriol, and alum, in equal parts, which you will distil into 
aqua tortis. Pour this water again on its faeces, and distil it again in glass. 
In this aqua fortis clarify silver, and afterwards dissolve in it sal ammoniac. 
Having done this, take a metal reduced into thin plates in the same way, 
that is, in the same water. Afterwards separate it by the balneum Manse, 
pour it on again, and repeat this until there be found at the bottom an oil, 
namely, from the Sun, or gold, of a light red colour ; of the Moon, a light 
blue ; of Mars, red and very dark ; of Mercury, white ; of Saturn, livid and 
leaden ; of Venus, bright green ; and of Jupiter, yellow. 

All metals are not thus reduced to an oil, except those which have been 
previously prepared. For instance. Mercury must be sublimated ; Saturn 
calcined ; Venus florified ; Iron must be reduced to a crocus ; Jupiter must be 
reverberated ; but the Sun and Moon easily yield themselves. 

After that the metals have been in this way reduced to a liquid substance, 
and have disposed themselves to a disunion of their elements — which cannot 
be done in a metallic nature, seeing that everything must be previously pre- 
pared for the use to which it is adapted — afterwards add to one part of this 
oil two parts of fresh aqua fortis, and when it is enclosed in glass of the best 
quality, set it in horse-dung for a month. After that, distil it entirely with a 
slow fire, that the matter may be condensed at the bottom. And if the aqua 
fortis which ascends be distilled by a bath in this manner, you will find two 
elements together. But the same elements will not be left by all metals alike. 
For from gold there remain in the bath earth and water ; but air is in all the 
other three, and the element of fire remains at the bottom, because the sub- 
stance and the tangibility of gold have been coagulated by the fire ; therefore, 
the substance will agree in its substantiaUty. From the Moon there will 
remain at the bottom the element of water, and in the bath the elements of 

1 6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

earth and fire. For from the cold and the moisture is produced the substance 
and corporality of the Moon, which is, indeed, of a fixed nature, and cannot 
be elevated. From Mercury there remains fire at the bottom, and earth and 
water are elevated upwards. From Venus there also remains fire, and both, 
that is to say, earth and water, remain in the bath. From Saturn there 
remains the element of earth at the bottom, while fire and water are held in 
the bath. From Jupiter air remains at the bottom, while fire, water, and 
earth are elevated therefrom. 

So it must be noticed that in the case of Jupiter the air supplies a body, 
and in the case of no other metal. And of this, although some part ascends 
together with it and remains mixed inseparably with the other three elements, 
still it is not corporeal air, but adheres to, and concurs with, the others, and 
is inseparable from them. 

And now, it must be remarked that the residuum, that is, the corporeal 
element which remained at the bottom, must be reduced into an oil by means 
of the bath with fresh aqua fortis. So, this element will be perfected, and you 
will keep it for one part. The rest yovi will separate by means of a bath in 
this way. Place them in sand, and press them gently. Then, first of all, the 
water will be elevated, and will escape ; afterwards the fire, for it is known by 
the colour when these two remain. But, if the elements of earth and water 
should have remained, the water will ascend first, and afterwards the earth. 
But if it should be earth and fire, the earth is elevated first and the fire after- 
wards. If water, fire, and earth be together, the water will first ascend, then 
afterwards the fire, and last of all the earth. These elements can be so kept 
in their respective glasses, each according to its own nature \ as, for example, 
from the Sun, the warm and the dry, without any other property ; in like 
manner the cold and the moist, and the cold and the dry. So, also, must it be 
understood of the others. It must not be forgotten that the corrosive nature 
of the aquafortis must be extracted as we have handed down in our book on 
the Quintessence. 

Concerning the Separations of the Elements out of Marchasites. 

Having previously set down the separations of the elements out of metals, 
it remains that we come to those which can be produced out of marchasites, 
and that we shew what they are. 

Take of marchasite, in whatever form you please, whether bismuth or 
talc, or cobalt, granite, or any other, one pound ; of salt nitre the same. 
Beat them very small, and, burning them together, distil by means of an 
alembic without a cucurbite, and keep whatever liquid ascends. But that 
which remains at the bottom, let this, when ground down, be resolved into a 
water with aqua fortis. Hereupon pour the water previously collected, and 
distil it into an oil, as before directed in the case of metals. By the same 
process, too, you shall separate the elements. So, the golden marchasite is to 
be understood as gold, the silver as the Moon, bismuth as lead, zinc as copper, 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 17 

talc as Jupiter, cobalt as iron. Let these directions suffice for the separation 
of marchasites in every kind. 

Concerning the Separation of the Elements from Stones. 

The separation of the elements of stones or gems comes to be understood 
in the following way. Take a stone well ground, to which add twice the 
quantity of live sulphur, and, when all is well mixed, put it in a luted pot 
into an Athanor for four hours, so that the sulphur shall be entirely 
consumed. Afterwards, let what remains be washed from the dregs and 
the sulphur, and dried. Let the stony calx be also put into aqua fortis and 
proceeded with as we have already laid down concerning the metals. Stones, 
too, are compared with metals ; as, for instance, clear gems which are not 
white or tawny are compared with gold. White, coerulean, or grey, with 
silver or the Moon ; and afterwards the commoner stones with the other 
metals, as alabaster with Saturn, marble with iron, flint with Jupiter ; but 
dulech with Mercury. 

Concerning the Separation of the Elements from Oleaginous 


All oils, woods, roots, seeds, fruits, and similar things, which have a 
combustible nature, and one fit for burning, are considered oleaginous ; and 
the separation of them is twofold, namely, that of the oleaginous substances 
and that of the pure oils. 

The Separation of the Oleaginous Substances is as follows : 

Take such a body, pounded, ground, or reduced to fragments in whatever 
way you can, wrap it up in linen, fasten it, and place it in horse-dung until it 
shall be entirely putrefied, which happens sooner in one case than in another. 
When it is putrefied let it be placed in a cucurbite, and on it let there be poured 
so much common hot water as may exceed four fingers broad ; then let there 
be distilled in sand all that can ascend. For all the elements ascend except 
the earth itself, which you will know by the colours ; nevertheless, let the hot 
water first ascend, afterwards the air, next the water, lastly the fire, and the 
earth will remain at the bottom. Of the pure oils, however, it must be under- 
stood that these do not require putrefactions, but they must be distilled alone 
and without additions. Afterwards their elements, as it has been said above 
of others, must be separated, and these are discerned by their own colours. 
None otherwise with resins of liquid substance must it be done, such as pitch, 
resin turpentine, gum, and the like. But the corporeal resins which exist, 
such as sulphur, must be prepared in the following manner. 

Concerning the Separation of the Elements in Corporeal Resins. 

Take sulphur very minutely ground ; let this be cooked to hepatic sulphur 
in a double quantity of linseed oil ; let it be shut up in a vessel and place it to 

1 8 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

putrefy in horse-dung for a space of four weeks. Afterwards let it be distilled 
in an alembic slowly over a naked fire. The air and the water first ascend, 
with different and pale colours. Then, the heat being increased, the fire ascends 
and the earth remains at the bottom. The colours appear pure ; the air yellow ; 
the water like thick milk, so much so that it can scarcely be distinguished from 
milk ; the fire like a burning ruby, with transparency and with all the fiery 
signs ; but the earth is altogether black and burnt. The four elements having 
been thus separated, every one is perfect in its own elemental complexion, and 
without any admixture, as has been said above. 

Concerning the Separation of the Elements from Herbs. 

So, too, in herbs, the element of water is principally contained when they 
are cold ; but if they are airy, then that element predominates. In like manner 
must it be understood of fire. The separation of those elements is as follows : 

Take sage, and bruise its leaves. After this place it for putrefaction, as 
aforesaid. Then you will distil it by means of a venter equinus, and the 
element of fire will ascend first so long as the colours are unchanged and the 
thickness of the water. Afterwards the earth will succeed, and some part of 
it will remain at the bottom, which part, indeed, is fixed. Distil this water in 
the sun six days, and afterwards place it in a bath. Then the element of the 
water will ascend first. It is very minute, and is distinguished by the taste. 
After the colour changes the element of fire ascends, until the taste, too, is 
altered. Then at last a part of the earth is elevated, yet it is a very small 
portion, which, being mixed with air, is found at the bottom. In the same 
way it must be understood of airy and watery herbs, of which the air ascends 
first, afterwards the water, and lastly follows the fire, according to the process 
laid down concerning sage. 

Concerning the Separation of the Elements from Fleshly 


The separation of the elements from fleshly bodies, and from those which 
live with blood, comes to be understood thus, because the predominating 
element in them is more copious and is generally found last of all ; as, for 
instance, water in fishes, fire in worms, and air in edible flesh are the principal 
elements, as we describe in our treatise on the generation of animals.* 

The Separation of the Elements from Fishes is as follows : — 

Putrefy the fishes perfectly. Then distil by means of the venter equinus, 
and a good deal of water ascends. You will renew this putrefaction and 
distillation, and increase it until no more water rises. Afterwards distil what 
remains in sand ; then at length the fire ascends in the form of oil, but the 

* This treatise must also be included in the long catalogue of the missing works of Paracelsus. But many refer- 
ences to the generations of animals will be found in the present translation. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 19 

earth remains at the bottom. Thus the whole substance of the fishes is 
separated into its elements. One need take no account of the fats and the 
marrows, but must suppose that everything is separated by the putrefaction, 
and divided into its elements. In the same way is it to be understood of 
worms, except that there comes forth from them not only water but more fire, 
unless they are aquatic worms, as serpents ; in the distillation of which more 
wonderful things occur than it is possible to say. Of edible animals, too, it 
must be understood in the same way, of such, that is, as respectively disclose 
their elements by separation. 

Concerning the Separation of the Elements from Watery 


For the separation into their elements of juicy and watery bodies, and of 
those which have the form of wateriness, as urine, dung, water, and the like, 
note the following process : — 

Take urine and thoroughly distil it. Water, air, and earth will ascend 
together, but the fire remains at the bottom. Afterwards mix all together 
and distil again four times after this manner ; and at the fourth distillation 
the water will ascend first, then the air and the fire, but the earth remains at 
the bottom. Then take the air and the fire in a separate vessel, which put in 
a cold place, and there will be congealed certain icicles, which are the element 
of fire. Although this congelation will take place in the course of distillation, 
still it will do so more readily in the cold. 

Concerning the Separation of the Elements out of Water. 

Make the water boil by means of a dung-heap, and the earth itself sinks 
to the bottom. Putrefy at the proper time that which ascends, and let it 
afterwards be distilled by a bath. Then the water will ascend first, and 
afterwards the fire. Dung, vitriol, tartar, and similar juices, as alum, salts, 
and other substances of that kind, are to be distilled in ashes, with such an 
amount of heat and for so long a time, until they cease to rise, and the water 
and air have ascended, while the earth has remained at the bottom. After- 
wards, by means of the heat, the fire will ascend. And in this place it is to 
be remarked that although the four elements have been separated, there 
remain still in the earth four occult elements, as though fixed. From vitriol 
remains a caput mortuum, which sublimate with sal ammoniac, and there will 
issue forth an oil, in which are water and fire, and the earth itself remains in 
substance. Separate those things which have ascended, and again there will 
ascend water, while the fire will remain at the bottom. So also must it be 
understood of tartar and of salts. And although there are in existence 
additional separations of liquids, yet we shall discuss them more amply when 
speaking of Transmutations. It must, however, be remembered that there 
are more elements in a corrosive earth than in ashes. Therefore, the 

separation must be made by sublimation, as we shall shew. 


20 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Concerning the Separation of the Elements from Glasses and those 
Substances which are of the Nature of Glass. 

As we lay down above concerning the resolutions of marchasites, so is it 
to be in like manner understood in this place concerning the glasses : namely, 
the principal consideration is that they are calcined with sulphur as stones 
are, then washed away with saltpetre and aqua fortis, and furthermore, as we 
have before made clear. Their elements also are recognised by the colours 
in the distillations, not as they shew themselves to the eye ; and this is the 
sum and substance of what we have to say concerning them. 

Concerning the Separation of the Elements in Fixed Substances. 

The separation of the elements in fixed substances is brought about by 
sublimation, as we teach concerning salts and liquids ; with this difference, 
however, that these are to be calcined with salt nitre, and afterwards to be 
sublimated. And although there are many other things which are not set 
down in this place, nevertheless it is to be understood that the separations of 
all substances should be made in the ten ways already described. Further- 
more, concerning the separation of the four elements, it is to be remarked 
that each of them can be again separated ; for example, fire as fire, air as air, 
water as water, earth as earth, as follows hereafter concerning the respective 
separations of them. 

Concerning the Separation of Fire. 

It should be known that from the element of fire, the four elements 
may be separated in this way. When the fire is burning most violently, or 
ascends, take it in a receptacle or vessel perfectly closed, and place it in 
horse-dung for a month. Then you will find in that one element four elements, 
which, when you have opened the vessel, put into a receiver. Thus the 
vapour or air will mount into the vessel that receives it. Afterwards, distil 
that which remains by means of a bath, and the water will thus ascend. Next, 
by means of ashes, the fire will ascend and the earth will remain at the 
bottom. What is the force of these elements, and why are they described in 
this place, we will make more clear in other books. 

Concerning the Separation of Air. 

Having received the element of air in a perfect glass vessel, and hermet- 
ically sealed it, you must expose and direct it to the sun for the whole of the 
summer. By circulating, the air is turned into moisture, which increases 
daily more and more. This quantity you will separate after the following 
manner. Let it putrefy in horse-dung for four weeks, and afterwards distil 
it by the bath, like fire. Concerning its potency more is said in another 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 21 

Concerning the Separation of Water. 

Having- filled a glass brimful, leaving no space empty, seal the vessel 
hermetically, and place it in a warm sun for a month, so that it may receive 
a daily and equal heat, and would boil, but it cannot on account of the vessel 
being full. When the time has elapsed, putrefy it for four weeks. Then 
open it, and distil it by means of an alembic with four necks. In this way 
the three elements are separated, and in the bottom will remain the earth of 
that water. The nature of this is said to possess much virtue in many cases. 

Concerning the Separation of the Earth. 

The same process is to be observed with the earth as with the water, save 
only in the distillation. For this is like that which takes place with fire and 
is accomplished in the same way. This separation of the elements we have 
inserted at this point for several causes, because it is very useful, not only in 
philosophy, but also in medicine. Concerning the separations of the elements, 
we have thus far written with sufficient fulness. Though much more might 
be added, it does not appear to be by any means necessary. 

Now, we will make clear the separation of the pure from the impure, 
according to the purpose of our design. This, indeed, is done in the same 
way as we teach with regard to Arcana and Aurum Potabile ; so it need not 
be put forward here, though that process from its origin is not altogether 
identical with that which is laid down concerning Arcana and Magisteries. 
Nevertheless, I do finally assume the same way by the separation of the elements ; 
since in this place those elements are separated after each one of them has 
been purged from the impurities existing therein^ so that no deformity or im- 
pediment may arise from them, as might otherwise easily happen. 

The End of the Third Book of the Archidoxies concerning 
THE Separations of the Elements. 

From the Theophrastia of Paracelsus the Great. 

Concerning the Quintessence.* 

WE have before made mention of the quintessence which is in all 
things. Already, at the beginning of this treatise, it must be 
understood what this is. The quintessence, then, is a certain 
matter extracted from all things which Nature has produced, and from every- 
thing which has life corporeally in itself, a matter most subtly purged of 
all impurities and mortality, and separated from all the elements. From this 
it is evident that the quintessence is, so to say, a nature, a force, a virtue, and 
a medicine, once, indeed, shut up within things, but now free from any 
domicile and from all outward incorporation. The same is also the colour, 
the life, the properties of things. It is a spirit like the spirit of life, but with 
this difference, that the life-spirit of a thing is permanent, but that of man 
is mortal. Whence it may be inferred that the quintessence cannot be 
extracted from the flesh or the blood of man : for this reason, that the spirit 
of life, which is also the spirit of virtues, dies, and life exists in the soul, 
not in the material substance. 

• The Correction of the Quintessejice. The books which have been written by so many previous authors 
concerning the Quintessence, such as those of Arnoldus de Villa Nova and of Johannes de Rupescissa, whence 
afterwards, under a pretentious title, was composed the Cxlnm Philosophoriim [not to be identified with the work of 
Paracelsus which occupies the first place in this translation], contain nothing of any value. The mere fact that 
these writings embody a singular and new praxis abundantly demonstrates that their authors have misunderstood the 
essential nature of diseases, seeing that they have, as it were, devised one form of all diseases, regarding which they 
have, moreover, invented many marvellous things, adorning their conceptions with monstrous titles, all mere boasting, 
wherein there is no mention of philosophy, medicine, or astronomy. They are all a mere deluge of absurdities and lies. 
There can be no doubt that originally most admirable discoveries have been transferred from the chemical art to that of 
medicine, but the same have been since adulterated by sophistry. For certain people, when they have investigated a 
chemical preparation, wish to vary it immediately in hundreds of different ways, and thus the truth is foolishly 
confounded with lies. Now, it should be observed that the severest rebuke which can be given to such impostures is 
that of paying no attention to promises and to proud titles, and of believing only to that extent which is warranted by 
good sense and experience. Remedies which require more knowledge of a practical kind than has ever been possessed 
by monastic pseudo-chemists may, in careless hands, give rise to the most malignant diseases. It may be observed, for 
example, that the preparations of Mercui-y which are used against Luis Gallica, and, indeed, all remedies adopted in the 
cure of this disease, cannot be properly prepared without great skill in chemistry. Pretenders in pharmacy will vainly 
vaunt such decoctions unless they can compose vitriolated salts, alums, and things similar, by purely chemical artifice, 
seeing that there are recondite secrets in the remedies which conduce to the cure of Luis Gallica. Yet there is no need 
to write a new correction ; it is enough to .adhere to the legitimate mode of preparation, giving no faith to the hollow 
pretences of alchemists. These men certainly promise more than they are ever able to perform ; but this is common to 
alchemy and not a few other callings, namely, that their professors boast of the harvest before they have finished the 
sowing. — Chirurgia Magna^ De Impostui-is in Morho Galtico-, Lib. II., c. 13. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 23 

For the same reason, animals, too, because they lose their life-spirit, and 
on that account are altogether mortal, also exhibit no quintessence. For 
the quintessence is the spirit of a thing, which, indeed, cannot be extracted 
from things endowed with sensation as it can from those not so endowed. 
Balm has in itself the spirit of life, which exists as its virtue, as a force, and 
as a medicine ; and although it be separated from its root, nevertheless, the 
life and virtues are still in it, and for this cause, that its predestination was 
fixed. Wherefore the quintessence can be extracted from this, and can be 
preserved, with its life, without corruption, as being something eternal 
according to its predestination. If we could in this manner extract the life of 
our heart without corruption, we should be able to live without doubt, and 
without the perception of death and diseases. But this cannot be the case ; 
so from this circumstance death must be looked for by us. 

When, therefore, the quintessence of things exists as a virtue, the 
first thing we have to say is in what form this virtue and medicine are in 
things, after the following manner. Wine contains in itself a great quint- 
essence, by which it has wonderful effects, as is clear. Gall infused into water 
renders the whole bitter, though the gall is exceeded a hundredfold in quantity 
by the water. So the very smallest quantity of saffron tinges a vast body of 
water, and yet the whole of it is not saffron. Thus, in like manner, must 
it be laid down with regard to the quintessence, that its quantity is small in 
wood, in herbs, in stones, and other similar things, lurking there like a guest. 
The rest is pure natural body, of which we have written in our book on 
the Separations of the Elements. Nor must it be supposed that the quint- 
essence exists as a fifth element beyond the other four, itself being an element. 
It is possible that someone may think this essence would be temperate, 
not cold, not warm, not moist or dry, but this is not the nature of its 
existence. For there is nothing which exists in this temperature by which it 
is alienated altogether from the other elements ; but all quintessences have a 
nature corresponding with the elements. The quintessence of gold corre- 
sponds with fire ; that of the Moon with water ; that of Saturn with earth ; 
and that of Mercury with air. 

Now the fact that the quintessence cures all diseases does not arise from 
temperature, but from an innate property, namely, its great cleanliness and 
purity, by which, after a wonderful manner, it alters the body into its own 
purity, and entirely changes it. For as a spot or film, by which it was formerly 
blinded, is removed from the eye, so also the quintessence purifies the life for 
man. All natures are not necessarily of one and the same essence one with 
the other. Nor do those which are fiery on that account manifest the same 
operations by reason of their complexion ; as, for instance, if anyone should 
think that the quintessence of Anacardus should have a like and identical 
operation with the quintessence of gold, because both are fiery, he would be 
greatly misled, since the predestination and the disposition make a difference 
of properties. For as every animal contains within itself the life-spirit, yet 

24 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

the same virtue does not exist in each, simply because they all consist of flesh 
and blood, but one differs from another, as in taste or in virtue, so is it with 
the quintessence, which does not acquire its virtue from the elements by a 
simple intellectual process, but from a property existing in the elements, as 
we lay down in our book on the Generation of Things. Thence it happens 
that some quintessences are styptic, others narcotic, others attractive, others 
again somniferous, bitter, sweet, sharp, stupefactive, and some able to renew 
the body to youth, others to preserve it in health, some purgative, others 
causing constipation, and so on. Their virtues are innumerable, and although 
they are not exhausted here, yet they ought to be thoroughly known by 

When, therefore, the quintessence is separated from that which is not 
the quintessence, as the soul from its body, and itself is taken into the body, 
what infirmity is able to withstand this so noble, pure, and powerful nature, 
or to take away our life, save death, which being predestined separates our 
soul and body, as we teach in our treatise on Life and Death ? In this 
place it should be equally remarked that each disease requires its own special 
quintessence, though we tell of some which are adapted to all diseases. 
How this comes about shall be explained in its proper place. 

Furthermore, we bear witness that the quintessence of gold exists in 
very small quantity, and what remains is a leprous body wherein is no sweetness 
or sourness, and no virtue or power remains save a mixture of the four elements. 
And this secret ought by no means to escape us, namely, that the elements of 
themselves, without the quintessence, cannot resist any disease, but are able 
to effect only this and nothing more, that is, to produce heat or cold without 
any force : so that if a disease be hot, it is expelled by cold, but not by that 
kind of cold which is destitute of force, or things made frigid with snow ; since, 
though, these are sufficiently cold, yet there is no quintessence contained in 
them by the power whereof the disease might be expelled. Wherefore the 
body of gold is powerless of itself ; but its quintessence alone, existing in that 
body, and also in its elements, supplies the forces hidden therein. So, like- 
wise, in all other things, it is their quintessence alone that cures, heals, and tinges 
the whole body, just as salt is the best seasoner of any food. The quintessence, 
therefore, is that which gives colour, whatever it be, and virtue ; and gold 
when it has lost its colour, at the same time lacks its quintessence. None 
otherwise must it be understood of metals from which when the colour is taken, 
they are deprived of their special nature. 

In like manner is it with stones and gems ; as, for instance, the quint- 
essence of corals is a certain fatness with a red tint, while the body of them is 
white. The quintessence of the emerald, too, is a green juice, and the body 
thereof is also white. None otherwise must we judge of all other stones, 
namely, that they lose their nature, essence, and qualities when they lose 
their colours, as we particularly shew in our book on the extractions of 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 25 

The same, also, should be understood of herbs, plants, and other growing 
products. So, too, of flesh and blood, from which no quintessence can be 
extracted, for reasons already laid down. But, nevertheless, a certain 
resemblance to a quintessence can be extracted from them by us in the 
following manner. A morsel of flesh still retains life in itself, because the 
flesh is yet supplied with all its nature and force. Wherefore there is life in it, 
which, however, is not true life, but still the life is preserved until putrefaction 
sets in. So this difference must be noted, whereby dried herbs and the like 
are to be looked upon in the same way as flesh. That green spirit which is 
their life has gone from them. Dead things, therefore, can be taken for a dead 
quintessence, as flesh is able to put forth all its powers from itself, though 
specially separated as to one part from the body. So, too, with blood and with 
dried herbs. These, indeed, though they are not living quintessences, 
none the less demonstrate how a dead quintessence displays some virtues. 
But metals and stones have in them a perpetual life and essence, and they do 
not die, but so long as they are metals or stones, so long does their life last. 
Therefore, they also exhibit perfect quintessences which, in like manner, can 
be extracted from them. 

And now we must see by what method the quintessence is to be extracted. 
There are many ways indeed : some by additions, as the spirit of wine ; 
others by balsamites ; some by separations of the elements, and many other 
processes which we do not here particularise. 

But by whatsoever method it takes place, the quintessence should not 
be extracted by the mixture or the addition of incongruous matters ; but 
the element of the quintessence must be extracted from a separated body, 
and, in like manner, by that separated body which is extracted. Different 
methods are found by which the quintessence may be extracted, for instance, 
by sublimation, by calcination, by strong waters, by corrosives, by sweet 
things, by sour, and so on, in whatever way it may be possible. And here 
this is to be taken care of, that everything which shall have been mixed with 
the quintessence by the necessity of extraction, must again be drawn off from 
it, so that the quintessence may remain alone, unpolluted, and unmixed with 
any other things. For it cannot be that the quintessence shall be extracted 
from metals, more particularly from gold, which cannot be overcome by itself, 
without exhibiting some appropriate corrosive, which can afterwards again be 
separated from it. In this way, salt, which was water, is again extracted 
from water, so that this water is free from salt. And here this consideration 
comes in, that it is not every corrosive which is adapted for this purpose, 
because they cannot all of them be separated ; for if vitriol or alum be mixed 
with the water, neither of these can be separated from it afterwards without 
loss or corruption, so that they leave behind them a sharp residuum, for this 
reason, because each of them is watery, and thus two similar things meet, 
which ought not to occur in this process. Care must therefore be taken that 
a watery body be not taken for a watery, or an oily body for an oily, or a 

26 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

resinous body for a resinous one ; but a contrary ought in every case to 
separate the quintessence and to extract it, as waters extract the quintessence 
of oily bodies (which is explained in the case of the metals), and oily 
substances the quintessence of watery bodies, as we may learn concerning the 
quintessences of herbs. The corrosives, therefore, after the separation and 
extraction of the quintessence, must be again separated, and this will be easily 
done. For oil and water are readily separated, but not so oil from oil ; nor, 
in like manner, can water be separated from water without admixture ; and if 
this is left it may cause great damage to the quintessence. For the quint- 
essence ought to be clear and spotless, and collected without the admixture of 
anything, that it may possess a uniform substance by means of which it can 
penetrate the whole body. In truth its subtlety and force cannot be probed to 
the foundation, no more than its origin whence it first proceeded can be fully 
known. It has many grades : one against fevers, as in the case of opiates ; 
another against dropsy, as the essence of tartar ; one against apoplexy, as 
that of gold ; one against epilepsy, as that of vitriol. The number of these is 
infinite, and incapable of being proved by experiment. Wherefore the greatest 
care and diligence should be shewn that to every disease its true enemy may 
be assigned. In this way Nature will afford help beyond belief, as will be 
made more clear in what follows. We cannot speak of the grades in the same 
way as grades are applied to simples in medicine, for this reason that there is 
no possible comparison between the grades of a quintessence and the grades 
of simples, nor ought the comparison to be attempted ; but when such grada- 
tion is made it is found that the excellence and virtue of one is greater than of 
another, but not the complexion. For it must not be set down that the 
quintessence of Anthos is hotter than the quintessence of lavender, or the 
qumtessence of Venus is drier than that of the Moon ; but the grade of 
anvthing should be determined by its great and more excellent virtues, namely, 
after this manner. The quintessence of antimony cures leprosy, and the 
quintessence of corals cures spasms and contortions. In order to learn, then, 
which of these occupies the better and higher grade, there can be no other 
judgment than this, namely, that the quintessence of antimony is higher and 
more potent, inasmuch as leprosy is a more severe disease than colic and its 
belongings. According to the property, therefore, which it has against 
different diseases its grades are considered. This is, moreover, the case in 
one and the same disease ; for one essence is more powerful than another for 
curing leprosy. The quintessence of juniper expels it, and the quintessence 
of amber, the quintessence of antimony, and the quintessence of gold. Now, 
although there are these four essences in all which cure leprosy, they do it 
with a difference, since with regard to the cure thereof they do not occupy the 
same grade. For the essence of juniper drives away this disease by the extreme 
purgation and purification which it introduces into the blood, and so consumes 
the poison that it is not so perceptible. Hence it is reckoned in the first grade 
of that cure. The quintessence of amber also takes away the poison and 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 2"] 

more. It purifies the lungs, the heart, and the members subject to leprosy ; 
wherefore, the second grade is assigned to it. The quintessence of antimony, 
beyond both the virtues already spoken of, also clears the skin, and sharpens 
and renovates the whole body in a wonderful manner ; so, then, it holds 
the third rank. But the quintessence of the Sun by itself fulfils each of 
these tasks, and then takes away from the roots all the symptoms of leprosy, 
and renovates the body as honey and wax are purged and purified by their 
honeycomb. For this cause it occupies the fourth rank. 

In this way the grades of the quintessence can be learnt, and the one 
distinguished from the other, that is to say, which of them is higher or more 
excellent than another. Even simples should be known by their properties. 
For whatever be the property in a simple form, such is the property of their 
quintessence, not more sluggish, but much stronger and more excellent. 

But now, moreover, let us learn the differences of quintessences, for 
some are of great service to the liver by resisting all its diseases, some to the 
head, others to the reins, some to the lungs, and some to the spleen, and so 
on. So, too, some operate only on the blood, others on the phlegm, others 
in melancholy only, others only in cholera, while some others have effect only 
on the humours, some on the life-spirit, some on the nutritive spirit ; some 
operate on the bones, some others on the flesh, some on the marrow, others 
on the cartilages, some on the arteries ; and there are others which have 
effect only against certain diseases and against no others, as against paralysis, 
the falling sickness, contractions, fluxes, dropsy, and so on. Some, also, are 
found to be narcotics, others anodynes, some soporific, some attractive, 
purgative, cleansing, flesh-making, strengthening, regenerative, and some 
stupefying, and the rest. 

Some, too, are found which renovate and restore, that is, they transmute 
the body, the blood, and the flesh. Some are for preserving the continuance 
of life, some for retaining and preserving youth ; some by means of 
transmutation, others by quickening. Moreover, this must be understood, 
that some have a specific form, others an appropriated, others an influential, 
and others a natural form. In a word, more of their virtues exist than we 
are able to describe, and their effects in medicine are most wonderful and 
inscrutable. In different ways it happens that some quintessences render a 
man who is a hundred years old like one in his twentieth year, and this by 
their own strength and potency. But what man is able to trace the origin of 
so great a mystery, or to ascertain from whence the first materials naturally 
take their rise ? It belongs to our Supreme Creator to make these things so, 
or to forbear. For who shall teach us, that we may know by what powers 
the quintessence of antimony throws off' the old hair and makes new hair 
grow ; why the quintessence of balm destroys the teeth, eradicates the nails 
of the hands and the feet, and restores new ones ; the quintessence of rebis 
strips off and renews the skin ; and the quintessence of celandine changes 
the body and renovates it for the better, as colours renovate a picture ? 

28 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

There are far more matters than these, which here we omit, and reserve for 
making clear in their proper chapters. 

How, then, at length could it be that we should relinquish that noble 
philosophy and medicine, when Nature affords us such wonderful experiments 
in and from them ? Of these all the other faculties are destitute, and so take 
their position nakedly in mere cavil. Why should not this fact delight us that 
the quintessence of the carline thistle takes force away from one and affords 
it to another who uses it ; also that the quintessence of gold turns inside out 
the whole leper, washes him as an intestine is washed in the shambles, 
and likewise polishes the skin and the scabs and makes a new skin, loosens 
the organs of the voice, takes away the whole leprous complexion, and 
makes him as if he had recently been born of his mother. 

Wherefore we will turn our mind to the making of such quintessences, 
pointing out the way for the extraction or composition of them- -one for the 
metals, another for marchasites, another for salts, another for stones and 
gems, another for burning things, another for growing things, another for 
spices, another for eatable and drinkable things, all of which, with their 
belongings, we will endeavour to make clear in a proper series. But it must 
be noted, in the practice with quintessences, a good knowledge of theory 
and of natural science is required ; theoretically, that is, of the properties of 
things with regard to natural diseases. One must not be ignorant that 
there is a difference between a quintessence, aurum potabile, arcana, magis- 
teries, and other things of that kind ; such as this, for example, that a quint- 
essence cannot be again reduced to its own body, but aurum potabile is easily 
transmuted again to its metallic body ; so that far more noble virtues exist in 
a quintessence than in the other things.* 

* The distinction which subsists between the quintessence of gold and potable gold is illustrated by the following 
citation which, though it occurs in an independent treatise, offers only some small variations from a passage in the 
Ckiritrgiii Magna which has been already given in the note on page 76 of the first volume ; — We have already said 
that it is scarcely possible for contractions to be cured in any other way than by medicines existing in the supreme 
grades, such as is potable gold and the like, concerning which we have treated in the larger grades, whence great care 
must be taken- concerning them, as is stated in the Book about the Quintessence. It is called potable gold so often 
as it b reduced, together with other spirits and liquors, into a substance which can be drunk. The oil of gold is a 
golden oil made out of the substance only, saving addition. It is called quintessence of gold when a reddish tinctui'e 
is extracted therefrom and separated from its body. A virtue, or at least an active force, exists in the tincture. The 
dose of potable gold is 9 i. , when needed. The dose of golden oil should not exceed ten grains of barley in weight. 
That of the quintessence should not exceed three similar grains in good water of life, or some other water of equal 
subtlety. It should be taken morning, noon, and evening, according to the requirements of the medicine, and without 
the addition of corrosives or corruptives, which can neither alter its nature nor be mixed therewith. —Z>,?j<-rz^/;(,« cf 
Potable Gold. Take of potable gold, pulverized and dissolved in salt, J i., with a sufficient quantity of distilled 
vinegar. Perform successive separations upon the whole by means of distillation till nothing of the acquired savour 
shall remain. Then take water of life J v., pour them into a pelican, and digest together for a month, when you will 
have perfect potable gold, the practice of which you must learn from our book on the quintessence. Though it has 
not been described in glowing colours there is no equal medicine found in this s.g^. — Descriplion of the IVater of Life. 
Take rolbs. of viiium ardens ; of roses, balm, rosemary, anthos, cheirus, both species of hellebore, marjoram 
ana m. j. ; of cinnamon, mace, nutmegs, garyophylli, grains of paradise, all peppers, cubebae, ana J ii. ; of the sap of 
chelidonia, tapsus, balm, ana lib. ss. ; of bean ashes J v. Let all these be mixed and digested together in a pelican 
for twelve days ; then separate, and use for above ^xtxx%s.— Description of the Oil of the Sun. After the sap has 
been separated from the gold in the way previously stated, let it boil for fifteen days in the digestive compound which 
follows. Let it afterwards be separated by the bath, when a thick oil will remain at the bottom, and this is unalloyed 
gold, which use as above..— Formula of ihe Quintessence. Take as much as you please of gold which has been 
repurged by royal cement or antimony. Remove its metallic quality, or malleation, by means of the water of salt 
Wash away the residue with sweet water. Extract its tincture with spirit ofwine. Lastly, elevate the spirit from it 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Pardee Isus, 29 

While we thus speak of the quintessence, the difference of one from 
another should be learnt, and then also what it is in itself. And although we 
have already sufficiently explained it, nevertheless, practice calls us another 
way by which also the condition and nature of the quintessence can be found 
out. For although these do not appear in the form of the quintessence, nor 
are they produced in the same way, nor do they consist of one element only as 
the quintessence should, still, none the less, we should judge of the quint- 
essence of these things, which is of more importance than that they should be 
called a quintessence. It should rather be spoken of as a certain secret and 
mystery, concerning which more should be written than we have written con- 
cerning the quintessence. But since we have made that clear in the books of 
the Paramirum, we pass it by in this place.* The number of the arcana and 
of the arts of the mysteries is infinite and inscrutable, and many methods in 
them are met with worthy the attention of the clearest human intellects. 
Among these arcana, nevertheless, we here put forward four. Of these 
arcana the first is the mercury of life, the second is the primal matter, the 
third is the Philosophers' Stone, and the fourth the tincture. But although 
these arcana are rather angelical than human to speak of, nevertheless, we 
shall not shrink from them, but rather we will endeavour to trace out the ways 
of Nature, and we will arrange that everything which proceeds from Nature 

and the quintessence will remain at the bottom. — Constrtiction of the Water of Salt. Take by itself the purest and 
whitest pounded salt, which is produced by nature without decoction, boiling, or any of those processes by which salt 
is usually made. Liquefy it several times, pound it very fine, mix it with the juice of raphanum roots, dissolve and 
distil it, and when a reddish green appears again distil it five times, combining it in equal weights. Dissolve laminated 
Sol in this liquor till it becomes powder. Let this powder be washed in most limpid water, and distil a sufficient 
number of times till the salt shall depart from it, which will take place soon, as it does not penetrate the interior 
nature. When the corrosive has been removed the gold will be found by \\.^^i.— Extraction of the Spirit of Wine. 
Take one measure of the best natural wine, red in preference to white, place in a capacious circulatory vessel for its 
better rotation, seal it, plunge it into the sea-bath, and let it boil for forty days. Afterwards pour it into a cucurbite, 
distil by the cold way till the spirit shall have gone and all signs of it shall cease. So finish. (The process varies from 
that of the Chirurgia Magna.) After ike sign fias beeji given cease. What follows is the water of life., not spirit ; 
either is efficacious. Then the sign is double^ one of the spirit and one of the water of life. Pour out this spirit 
of wine to the dregs, and in such a way that it floats over the surface to the height of six broad fingers. Close all 
openings completely with glass. Digest for thirty days, during which time the tincture enters the spirit. At the 
bottom there remains a white powder. Separate by art, and let the powder melt. Hence there is produced an aqueous 
metal or metallic water. Let the spirit evaporate, as we are taught by alchemy, and a sap resembling liquor remains 
at the bottom. Graduate this four times in a retort adapted to the quantity of the matter. This is performed by 
elevation, for it renders such like substances subtle, though it permits not the same to be developed beyond the fifth 
essence.— i?f ContracturiSy Tract IL, c. 2. Among other uses of potable gold, it is a tonic for the heart which is so 
eflScacious that it is affirmed by Paracelsus to prevent all injury befalling that organ. Of like virtue is the liquor of 
gold and the substance of pearls reduced into the form of an oil and balsam. After these are enumerated the essence 
from the crocus of Mars and corals. The description of the potable gold in this connection is given as follows : Let 
the cold be calcined into yellowness by the royal cement of Hell and Malch. Then let it be separated from its 
impurity, and afterwards mixed with circulated water. Digest for twenty-four hours in a moderate fire, when the oil 
will flow forth and will float upon the surface of the water. Collect and drink it mixed with water of life. Proceed in 
the same way with pearls, only adding calx of chelidonia, and confine by means of distilled vinegar until they pass 
oflf into liquor. Proceed also in like manner with corals, dissolving them in vinum ardens mixed with Hell. Remove 
the vinum ardens from the putrefaction and you will have the liquor of coral. There are also other essences, as of 
crocus, chelidonia, mace, cesium, balm, etc, which are suitable for other complaints and affections of the heart, and 
some of which will fill the old, infirm, melancholy, and depressed with the greatest joy.—De Viribus Mejnbrornm.^ 
Lib. n.,c. 2. 

• The reference here made is too obscure for verification. In the large literature of the Paramirum and its 
connected treatises, there are many observations upon arcana and mysteries, though few passages deal actually with 
the quintessence. Whatsoever is of importance has been embodied in this translation as notes to the text. That 
section of the present volume which is devoted to Alchemy as the fourth column of medicine may also be consulted in 
this connection, as it is a treatise derivecl from the Paramiruni. 

30 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

shall be capable of being naturally understood. Concerning the Mercury 
of Life, therefore, we profess that it is not a quintessence, but an arcanum, 
because there exist in it may virtues and forces which preserve, restore, and 
regenerate, as we write in our book on the Arcana. 

In like manner, also, the Primal Matter, not only in living things, but also 
in dead bodies, operates more in the same manner than is thought to be 
naturally possible. So also the Philosophers' Stone acts, which, tinging the 
body, frees it from all diseases, so that even metals are purged from their im- 
purities. In like manner the Tincture acts, which, as though it should change 
the Moon into the Sun, so also changes disease into health. The same things 
equally the other magisteries and elixirs do, and the aurum potabile, all of 
which are treated of severally in their own respective books. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Metals. 

We will, then, briefly go through the extraction of the quintessences from 
metals. For, in our times, many persons have made numerous experiments 
with these, and copious results followed which obliged them to enter on other 
different ways. With regard to metals, then, it must be understood that they 
are divided into two parts, namely, into their quintessence and into their 
body. Both are liquid and potable, and do not mix, but the impure body 
ejects the quintessence to its surface, like the cream from the milk. In this 
way two fatnesses or viscous liquids are formed out of the metals, and these 
liquids have to be separated. The fatness of the body is always white in all 
metals ; but their quintessence is coloured, as we have before explained 
concerning the seven metals. All, moreover, have the same process, which is 
as follows : — • 

Let the metal be dissolved in water, and afterwards this solution distilled 
by a bath and drawn off. Let it be putrefied until it is reduced to an oil. 
Let this oil be distilled from small phials or cucurbites by means of an alembic, 
and one part of the metal will remain at the bottom. Let this be reduced 
to an oil as before, and be distilled, until all the metal shall have ascended. 
Afterwards let it be again putrefied for a month, and at length again 
distilled with a slow fire. Then the vapours will at first ascend and afterwards 
fall into the receiver. These vapours remove ; and there will ascend two 
obscure colours, one white, but the other according to the nature and condition 
of the metal. When they have ascended altogether they become separated in 
the receiver, so that the quintessence remains at the bottom and the white 
colour of the body floats at the top. Separate these two by means of a 
tritorium, and in another phial receive the quintessence, into which pour 
purified ardent wine and let it remain until the wine is completely acidulated. 
Afterwards let it be strained or separated from the quintessence, and let more 
fresh wine be poured on. Do this until you no longer perceive any sharpness. 
At last, pour on doubly distilled water, so that it may be washed and brought 
to its proper sweetness, and so keep it. In this way the quintessence of 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 3 1 

metals is prepared. But if you reduce the white portion, you will have there- 
from a malleable, white, and metallic body of which it cannot be known under 
what species it is embraced. There are many other ways found out for 
extracting the quintessence. About these we keep silence, for the reason 
that they are not considered by us to be true extractions of quintessences, but 
only transmutations in which no extraction is produced or comes to be used. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Marchasites. 

In marchasites also are found various methods for the extraction of their 
quintessence, and yet we scarcely judge these to be true quintessences. And 
although they are of greater virtue than their quintessence, as we teach of 
Arcana, Magisteries, and Elixirs, nevertheless, this our mode and manner of 
extracting the quintessence from all the metallic marchasites is like the true 
extractions of the metals. But the following is the reason why we before 
said that the quintessence is the supreme virtue of things, and now, on the 
contrary, do here say of Arcana that they are greater than the quintessences 
themselves : because all the Arcana contain in themselves the quintessences 
and, moreover, are reduced to such subtlety and acuity that they hence 
receive a far greater virtue than the quintessence does. The same is laid 
down, too, concerning their appropriate and specific quality. But the process 
for extracting the quintessence from marchasites is as follows : — 

Take a pound of a marchasite very finely ground, of the eating water 
two pounds, mix them together in a pelican, let them remain in process of 
digestion for two or three months, and be reduced to a liquid. Distil this 
entirely with the fire and it will pass over into an oil which you will putrefy in 
the dungheap for a month. Afterwards distil it like metals, and in the same 
way two colours will ascend therefrom, one white, and the other the true 
colour of the quintessence. Leave the white, unless it be from bismuth or 
from a white marchasite, in which case you shall know one from the other by 
the density. Take the lower one, and reduce it to its sweetness as was said 
above concerning the metals. In this way you have extracted the quintes- 
sence from marchasites without any corruption of their powers or virtues. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Salts. 
The method of extracting the quintessence from salts is brought about in 
a somewhat peculiar way, so that their force may not be diminished, and is as 

follows : — 

Take salts, which you will calcine perfectly ; and if they be volatile you 
will burn them. Afterwards let them be resolved into tenuity and distilled into 
water. Put this water in putrefaction for a month, and distil it by means of 
a bath, when the sweet water will ascend, which throw away. That which 
has not ascended put again in digestion for another month, and distil as before, 
repeating the process until no sweetness is any longer perceptible. By this 
means you now have the quintessence of the salt at the bottom, scarcely two 

32 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

ounces in weight out of a pound of the calcined or burnt salt. Of this salt, thus 
extracted, though it shall be only common salt, an ounce and a half seasons 
food more than a pound and a half of the other. For only its quintessence is 
present, and the body is taken away from it by means of the liquid solution. 

In this way is separated the quintessence of all salts ; but it is extracted 
in another way from alum and from vitriol, as follows : — 

These will not allow of their being calcined into flux like salts. Therefore, 
after their calcination it is necessary to burn them, and resolve them 
according to the usual method. After they have been resolved, pour on them 
again the waters which have proceeded from them, and go on according to the 
method prescribed in the case of salts. For much of the essence ascends with 
the moisture, which again subsides at the bottom in process of composition 
and putrefaction, and so they meet together in one. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Stones, from 
Gems, and from Pearls. 

The method of extracting the quintessence out of stones, gems, and pearls, 
with all of which the process is the same, is of all others the most excellent, 
and in its operation is very subtle and ingenious. A very small quantity of 
this quintessence is to be obtained from gems, and the more subtle and pure 
the gem is, the more minute is the essence. It is scarcely worth the trouble to 
extract the essence from dense, great, and cheap stones, since little virtue 
exists in them, whence it happens that very little comes forth from them. The 
process is of the following kind : — 

Take gems, margarites, or pearls, pound them into somewhat large frag- 
ments, not into powder, put them into a glass, and pour on them so much 
radicated vinegar as will exceed the breadth of four or five fingers. Let them 
be digested for an entire month in a dung-heap, and when this is over the 
whole substance will appear as a liquid. This you will lighten with other 
radicated vinegar, and by shaking mix them together. The vinegar then 
acquires the colour of the stone. Pour the coloured liquid into another glass, 
again pour on vinegar as before, until the whole has no longer any colour. 
In that colour is contained the quintessence ; the residuum is the body. Then 
take the colours, suffer them to be cooked to dryness, and afterwards wash 
often with distilled water until all becomes sweet as above. At length let this 
dust be dissolved on marble. In this manner you will have the quintessence 
of the gems and pearls. It must be remarked, however, in the colour of pearls, 
that they themselves are resolved into the colour of thick milk, and their body 
is sandy and viscous. In like manner is it to be laid down about the crystal. 
Its quintessence comes to the top, a certain viscous body remaining, by which 
the success of this kind of extractions may be known. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Burning Things. 

Those things are called burning which are used neither for food nor 

for drink, and which of their own nature burn and keep alive the fire in the 

The Archidoxies of TheophraUus Paracelsus. 2s o 

bodily substance. The method of extracting the quintessence from these is as 
follows : — Take such a body, very finely pounded, place it in a glazed pot, until 
it be full, seal it with the seal of wisdom so that it shall not breathe forth, and 
burn it in a circulatory fire for twenty-four hours, so that it shall remain at an 
even temperature, while the pot glows like the coals. Then take it out of the 
fire, let it putrefy in dung for four weeks, and afterwards distil it. Whatever 
ascends, let this be placed in a venter equiims, in order to distil all the moisture 
from it, and again set it to putrefy until no moisture any longer issues from 
it ; and then at length the quintessence of the body which thou hadst taken 
remains at the bottom. In this manner the quintessence is extracted from all 
things which contain oil in them, or resin, or pitch, or anything of that kind, 
as out of turpentine, fir, juniper, cypress, and the rest ; and in like manner 
out of all seeds, fruits, and similar things. 

But it must be remarked that many more methods of extracting the quint- 
essence from these are handed down elsewhere, ways and modes by which it 
comes forth quite Odoriferous, subtle, and clear; but these methods are not 
extractions of the quintessence ; they are rather certain magisteries of these 
things, by which certain portions of the quintessence mount up at the same 
time in the process of mixing. They are not, however, perfect quintessences. 
For the essence of woods is a certain fatness or resin and a thick substance, 
whence it is not extracted in the form of magisteries. And the cause is this. 
The quintessence of the turpentine tree heals wounds, but when, in the above- 
mentioned way, it has been extracted from other magisteries, it does not heal 
wounds, because it has not in itself the fundamental power of the quintessence. 
The magisteries, indeed, are separated from the quintessences on this prin- 
ciple, that they only concern the complexions and the four elements, which, 
however, is not the nature of quintessences. Moreover, these magisteries 
receive it spiritually and not materially in its proper essence, as is clear from 
the chapters. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence out of 
Growing Things. 

Those things are called growing in this place which fall and grow 
again, as herbs, leaves, and the like. For extracting the quintessences of 
these, several methods also have been found out by the addition of other 
things. But they should be extracted without the admixture of anything, so 
that they may retain their taste, colour, and odour ; and that these properties 
may be increased in them, not diminished. Thus, if the quintessence be 
extracted from musk, amber, and civet, their body afterwards stinks, so that 
they are no longer of any account in taste, in odour, or in nature. So of 
other things in this class it must be understood, so far as relates to the 
extraction of their quintessences. But we do not discuss musk, amber, and 
civet in this chapter, because we write specially of them elsewhere, and at 
present we are only treating of growing things, as the lily, spike, leaves ; for 
the extraction of the quintessence from which the following is the process. 

34 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Take growing things, bruised as completely as possible. Put them in 
some fitting vessel, and set this in a venter equinus for four weeks. After- 
wards distil them by means of a bath ; again let them be placed in horse-dung 
for eight days, and once more distilled by the bath of Mary. 

Thus the quintessence will ascend by the alembic, but the body will 
remain at the bottom. If any of the quintessence shall have remained at the 
bottom, putrefy it still further, and proceed as before. Then take at length 
this distilled water, add it again to this growing thing, and so, by means of a 
pelican, let them be digested together six days. Thereupon the colour will 
be dense. Abstract this by means of the balneum maris, when the body will 
disappear, the quintessence remaining at the bottom. Separate this by a 
retortive process, that is, by pressure, from the dregs, and let this quintes- 
sence digest for four days. In this way you will have it perfect in odour, in 
juiciness, in taste, and in virtue, as well as consisting of a thick substance. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Spices. 

We will now teach the method of extracting the quintessence from spices, 
as musk, civet, camphor, and the like. First the quintessence ought to be 
reduced to another form, and at length to be separated therefrom. In that 
same process of separation the quintessence is found, as follows : — 

Take oil of almonds, with which let an aromatic body be mixed, and let 
them be digested together in a glass vessel in the sun, for the proper time, 
until they are reduced to a paste. Afterwards let them be pressed out from 
their dregs. In this way the body is separated from the quintessence, which 
is thus mixed with oil, from which it is separated in the following way : — 

Take rectified ardent wine, into which let the aforesaid oil be poured, 
and let them be left in process of digestion for six days. Afterwards let them 
be distilled by ashes. The ardent wine will ascend, and the quintessence 
with it. The oil will remain at the bottom without any of the quintessence 
remaining. Afterwards let this wine be distilled by the balneimi maris, and 
the quintessence will remain at the bottom in the form of an oil distinct from 
all similar ones. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Eatables 

and Drinkables. 

The quintessence of food ought to be none otherwise than in a form 
similar to that wherewith we should be fed, namely, flesh. And although, as 
we said before, no quintessence can be extracted from flesh, nevertheless we 
are easily able to extract from it, so far as it is its own, that which is 
equivalent to the quintessence, as follows : 

Take some eatable thing, cut up, put it into a vessel or jug, carefully 
luted, and suff'er it to boil for three days. Then strain off' what is in the 
pot, and distil it by means of a bath. Thus there will ascend first of all a 
kind of wateriness, and when this has entirely passed over, the quintessence 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 35 

will be left at the bottom. This is the chief nutriment beyond all others which 
we could put down or describe. And in respect of its nutritive power it is 
equal to a quintessence. The quintessence may also be extracted out of 
drinks in various ways ; but this is the true process which we consider chiefly 
useful and convenient for the work in hand : 

Take anything drinkable, enclose it in a pelican, just as it is, with its 
whole substance. Let it digest for a month in horse-dung. It will be still 
better to let it stay a year or more, and you will find in the pelican a 
certain something digested. Separate this by means of the bath, afterwards 
by ashes, and lastly by fire. In this way you will have three quintessences, 
which, in like manner, are in all drinks, for many reasons, which we 
enumerate in our treatise on Generations. 

These three quintessences having been extracted, and each put into its 
proper vessel, the two latter should be further digested and then placed in the 
balneum Marice, when there will ascend more of the previous quintessence. 
Keep on doing this until no more of the former ascends, and in this way they 
are separated as completely as possible. 

What we have so briefly taught about the quintessence of all things, and 
the short method of its extraction, ought not to rouse wonder in any at 
the rapid course of our hand and pen. For they are all well and completely 
handed down, and not so succinctly is the quintessence written of by us but 
that the work and labour necessary for it are clearly demonstrated. What 
need is there of much writing, which shall only nauseate ourselves and our 
readers, if we do not take into consideration that exercise and experience teach 
everything ? 

But how wonderful are its virtues and powers if it be extracted in the 
aforesaid manner we have even now partly taught, and shall make more clear 
in the last books that which belongs to this part of the Archidoxies ; and thus 
we shall have fully described the quintessence of all things. And although 
many before us have, in various documents, written great things about 
quintessences, still we do not think of their writings as a quintessence, the 
cause whereof we have already sufficiently adduced. 

We have even learnt from them that verdigris was accounted the quint- 
essence of Venus, when it is not so, but the crocus of Venus is the quintessence 
of Venus, which is thus to be understood. The flower of brass is a transmutation 
with the substance, at once dense and subtle, and extracted from every com- 
plexion of Venus. Wherefore it can be no quintessence, but the crocus of 
Venus, as we have taught, is the true quintessence : for it is a potable thing 
divided from the body without corrosion or admixture, very subtle, even more 
so than one cares to write in this place, for the sake of avoiding prolixity. 
So also, the crocus of Mars and its rust have hitherto been considered a 
quintessence, but it is not so. But the crocus of Mars is the oil of Mars. 
Concerning these things we set down more about transmutations in our 



36 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

A quintessence, therefore, is thus to be understood, namely, that it is 
nothing else than a certain separation of virtues from the body, wherein exists 
the whole virtue and essence of medicine. But what are the flower of brass, 
and the flower of Mars, and many similar matters, is handed down in the 
treatise on Magisteries. 

None otherwise must it be judged of vegetables and herbs and such things 
than concerning the metals. And although we have put forth lofty and 
numerous virtues of the quintessence, nevertheless, only the smallest part of 
their forces and qualities has been told. But we have principally made it clear 
how these things are to be understood ; yet least of all have we been able to tell 
what and how great are their powers and virtues. From this may be hinted 
how great is the power which we have in our hands, only let us know how to 
use it well. Hence, also, is made clear the cause why man was created, and 
all things on earth were made subject to him ; and also why it is that nothing 
good or ill happens without a cause, which we set forth more clearly in our 
book on the Nature of Things.* For that foundation brings with it a faith fixed 
on the Creator, and a hope of His love towards us, as of an excellent father for 
his children. So, then, we must not snatch at any shadowy and vain faith ; 
but it is right that we regard only God and Nature, and the Art of Nature. 
Wherefore, with good reason, we call only on Him in this life and for evermore, 
and believe that only which we see to be so, receiving or approving nothing 
that does not agree with Nature, or which is beyond Nature. 

The End of the Fourth Book of the Archidoxies on the Quintessence, 

* In the first book of the treatise entitled Philosophia Sa^ax, man is considered as the quintessence of the 
macrocosm. This point is frequently a subject of consideration in the transcendental physics of Paracelsus, and some 
reference has been made to it already in the annotations of the first volume. Man is a certain extract of the whole 
machine of the world derived no otherwise than the physician extracts the strength and essence from a herb, the result 
of which process is called a quintessence. That which the despoiled body is to the extracted virtue, so is the world to 
man. By so much as the body is weaker the quintessence is more efficacious ; the more is extracted the less remains in 
the original matter. In the case of the macrocosm, however, there has not been so exhaustive an extract as is 
performed by medicine. That only has been taken which was needed for man, and what remains is sufficient for his 
nourishment. Now, concerning Adam it must be known that he was made man in the image of God ; his wife Eve 
was made, and not born, out of Adam. It was not the will of God to make a double extract from the world, but one 
only, which is the quintessence of the IVIicrocosm. He extracted, therefore, the man, not the woman. . . . Man 
is generated from putrefaction. Putrefaction takes place through the operation of the macrocosm, through the 
elements, and through the stars, in the father and mother, as by instruments which Nature has bestowed. Not that 
the exterior world works here, but the microcosm through the quintessence. . . . From the father and mother no 
intellect, or sapience, is born, but only out of the firmament, by the operation of the quintessence and the microcosmic 
virtue. . . . The quintessence which is made in man is retained, being ordained for seed, whence children are 
born. That sperm which is the quintessence retains the nature, essence, and property of the mass and clay of the 


From the Theophrastia of Paracelsus the Great. 

Concerning Arcana. 

HAVING treated of quintessences, we will now turn our attention in 
due course to write about Arcana, since we understand more about 
them than about the forces of quintessences ; wherein experience 
teaches us that there is the greatest difference on account of the very powerful 
operations whereby are demonstrated to us by most evident signs what 
things are better, more useful, or inferior in their powers. In this way we are 
able to avail ourselves of one or the other, according to their usefulness in 
medicine. Indeed, the ancients often thought that the arcana were quint- 
essences, since they saw that they were much more subtle than dense sub- 
stances, and knew that they operated in a wonderful manner through their 
subtle nature. But this error of theirs arose, not from reason, but rather had 
its origin in a lack of practice ; since there was among them no knowledge as 
to the determinate difference of the high degrees, but they esteemed every 
higher and highest degree as quintessences. This difference, however, ought 
to be known and defined, not by practice alone, but also, and rather, by the 
operations of medicine. 

Before, then, we treat of arcana, we must see and know why they are 
so called, and what an arcanum is, since it has so excellent a name, and well 
deserves to have it, too. That is called an arcanum, then, which is incor- 
poreal, immortal, of perpetual life, intelligible above all Nature and of 
knowledge more than human.* Compared, indeed, with our corporeal bodies, 
arcana are to be considered incorporeal and of an essence far more excellent 
than ours, the difference being as great as between black and white. They 
have the power of transmuting, altering, and restoring us, as the arcana of 
God, according to their own induction. And although there is not eternity in 
our arcana, or that harmony which is celestial, nevertheless, compared with 
us, they ought to be judged celestial, since they preserve our bodies more 
than can be done or found out by Nature, and operate upon them in a 
wonderful way by their virtues. None otherwise, therefore, should these 

* The arcanum is, as it were, a potent heaven of medicine set within the hand and the will of the physician. — De 

38 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

natural arcana be compared to our bodies, so far as medicine is concerned,* 
than as the secrets of God are. Nor shall we fear to write that these arcana 
are higher and greater than ourselves, and that they have the greatest power 
of inaugurating life in us, as witness those four which we shall set down. 
Neither shall we take any heed of the empty stories told by those slavish 
dwarf-divines, since we consider that they have no more understanding than a 
blind man has sight. One arcanum, then, is of a single essence ; another is 
the arcanum of Nature herself : for the arcanum is the whole virtue of a thing, 
excelling a thousandfold the thing itself. We are able, therefore, fearlessly 
to assert that the arcanum of a man is every gift and virtue of his which he 
retains to eternity, as we teach in another book of these Archidoxies. An 
arcanum, then, comes to be understood in two ways : one is perpetual, the 
other is quasi-perpetual. This quasi-perpetual arcanum we judge to he like 
that which is perpetual according to the esteem and predestination of it. 
Four arcana only have been known to us from our boyish years ; with these 
we will complete this book, and work out for ourselves a sufficiently praise- 
worthy memorial, so that we may never forget them, praying the Supreme 
God that of His mercy He will allow our human flesh to attain to many years, 
so that we may lay up a long and gentle repose for our age, to hope faithfully 
in Him, and in no way to doubt that He, since He deigned to take our human 
nature, will allow us to enjoy it, so that we may in no way be disappointed of 
our hope, as we confidently expect will be the case. 

Relying thus upon this hope, we will begin by making clear what is the 
difference between these four arcana, as to the labour, the art, and lastly, the 
virtues. For this purpose, a final and conclusive knowledge of the virtues of 
each is required. Generically, first of all, they keep the body in health, ward 
off diseases from it and drive them away ; they enliven the depressed spirits, 
freeing them from all sorrow ; they protect from all sickness, and happily 
conduct the body even to its predestined death, which has no end save by a 
lessening of consumption, as we lay it down in our treatise on Life and Death. 
And although we have already made clear their virtues in a general way, 
and their nature, nevertheless they differ very much in particulars one from the 
other, so that no one of them operates altogether in the same way as another, 
or fulfils its virtues, but they are different both in manner and form, each 
with its own proper and peculiar ways. So, then, the Prima Materia is the 
first Arcanum ; the second is the Philosophers' Stone, the third is the Mercurius 
Vitce, and the fourth is the Tincture, for even thus we will set down the 

* Now, the difference between arcana and medicines is this, that arcana operate in their own nature, or essence, 
but medicine in contrary elements. Yet arcana do not prefer themselves to medicine. Medicines are those things 
wherein it is understood that cold is to be removed by heat and superfluity by purgation. Thus, there are reckoned 
substances of the arcana which by their natures are directed against the property of their enemy, even as one pugilist 
is opposed to another. Accordingly, the conflict of Nature is such that craft is circumvented by craft, and all things that 
we possess naturally in the earth, the same Nature also requires to be preserved in medicine. This is, therefore, the 
part of the physician, namely, to act not otherwise than as if two enemies opposed one another, who were equally 
cold or equally glowing with heat, and are both armed with similar weapons. Since the victory lies between these, so 
must you also understand concerning man, that there are two combatants, soliciting natural aid from one mother, 
namely, the virtue alone. The arcana also operate with like virtue. — Paragrinum^ Tract II., De AstroHoviia. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 39 

practice of them in order, after we have explained their modes of operation as 
follows : — 

In the beginning, it must be remarked, concerning the Primal Matter, 
that it puts forth its predestination, to which it is foreordained, entire, and 
from its first origin to its final end well-defined and exemplified. For as the 
seed gives of itself the entire herb, with renewal of all its forces and consumption 
of the old essence, so that the former substance, nature, and essence have no 
further operation, so do we say of the primal matter, that we are born from 
one seed like something growing in the field according to its growing nature. 
According to the aforesaid example, the primal matter introduces new youth 
into a man, just as a new herb springs forth from a new seed in a new summer 
and a new year. 

The Philosophers' Stone, which is the second arcanum, perfects its 
operations in another form, namely, this : As the extrinsic fire burning the 
spotted skin of the salamander, renders it pure as if it were newly born, so, 
also, the Philosophers' Stone purges the whole body of man, and cleanses it 
from all its impurities by the introduction of new and more youthful forces 
which it joins to the nature of man. 

The Mercury of Life, which is the third arcanum, gives proofs of its 
operations like those which the kingfisher displays, which is renewed every year 
at its annual period and endued with new plumage. Even so this arcanum 
casts off the nails from the hands and feet of a man, the hair, skin, and every- 
thing that belongs to him, makes them grow afresh, and renews the whole 
body, as was said above concerning the kingfisher. 

But the Tincture, which is set down by us as the fourth Arcanum, 
displays its operations like the Rebis, which makes gold, or the Sun, out of 
the Moon and other metals. None otherwise does the tincture affect the body 
of man, and take away from him his corruption and impediments, changing 
all into the greatest purity, nobility, and permanence. 

How, then, can it be that we should withdraw from this noble art of 
medicine, or from philosophy itself, when we see so clearly their force and 
. power, which alone confirm us, and deservedly so, that we should place the 
greatest confidence in them ? For we have not applied our minds to believe, 
learn, or imitate things which cannot be proved and attested by most true and 
certain evidence conjoined with reason. When Christ hung upon the Cross, 
if the sun and moon had not been affected with a kind of sympathy, so that 
they were deprived of their light and darkened, and had not the earth been 
shaken with a fearful tremor, and had not other signs been manifested at His 
nativity, no one would now believe in Him. They naturally teach us to see 
and know this, that Jesus Christ is God, and took human nature upon 
Himself. We may say the same of the Arcana, that they cause and even 
compel us to believe in them, so that we should not withdraw from them even 
up to the time of death, but rather strictly and constantly, among many 
hindrances, every day go on to give thanks to God. So neither the eclipse 

40 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

nor the moon will detach anything from us. We will therefore put forth the 
practice and elaboration of these four Arcana, by which we are able to drive 
away the accidents and corruptions of our youth, and to rejoice in them as 
our eternal Arcanum rejoices in its eternal life. 

Concerning the Arcanum of the Primal Matter.* 
Since we have sufficiently pointed out concerning the Primal Matter, 
whence it proceeds and what it is, we must understand that it is based not 
only on men, but on all bodily creatures, that is, on everything that is born 
from any seed. Whence it may be inferred that if it has its operation in any 
created body and perfects it, as we have before declared, it is able also to 
preserve trees from corruption, herbs from being dried up, and also metals from 
rust, concerning which the same thing must be understood of men and of brute 
beasts. So, then, a tree which is now almost consumed with age, and daily 
more and more verging on its own corruption, not from defect of root or of 
nutriment, but of its own proper virtue, can be renewed by its own primal 
matter just as we said about the skin of the salamander, and so may arrive at 
another age according to its predestination, nay, even at a third, a fourth, or 
more. On this principle virtues are to contribute to it, namely, in order 
that its corruption and destruction may be now and again renewed in a 
long process of time. No less is this to be understood of herbs, which last 
only for a single year, because their predestination is no longer. For they, 
even when they begin to be dried up, are renewed by their primal, matter, so 
that they remain green and fresh for another annual period, or for a third, a 
fourth, or more. The same thing understand of brute beasts, as, for instance, 
old sheep and other animals. They can be renewed for a fresh period of life, 
having received their virtues, such as milk and wool, like young sheep. 
Equally, too, can man be led on from one age to another, as we have said 
before. From this it ought be known what the primal matter is according to 
its essence. In created things, such as have no sensation, it is their seed ; 
but in created beings endowed with sensation, it is their sperm. For it must 
be known that the primal matter is not to be taken from the thing out of which 
this created body is produced, but out of the produced and generated material. 
For the primal matter has in it such virtues that it will not allow the body 
which is born of it to ^o into consumption, but abundantly affords whatever is 
necessary for the supply of every requirement. Indeed, death only arises from 
the destruction or infection of the living spirit. Now, that spirit grows out 

* According to one of his treatises on turpentine Paracelsus held that the ultimate matter is contained in that seed 
wherein God has digested each thing, but those more especially which are subject to natural growth, created by 
Himself. The primal matter is gross seed. It is the ultimate and not the primal matter, which, on the authority of 
this treatise, is useful to man. According to the tenth chapter of the Labyrintkns Medicpruin^ every growing thing 
whatsoever is in its lirst matter without form, or unformed. For example, the fir, the beech, the oak, are all in the 
beginning seed, wherein there is nothing which ought to be, that is, nothing which v/e should expect to find, having 
regard to what they become subsequently. But if such a seed be put into the ground, it is needful that it should first 
putrefy. Otherwise nothing is produced from it. When it putrefies, it dissolves altogether, and from being a seed it 
becomes nothing, but, at the same time, the putrefaction is the first matter from which the tree develops. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 41 

of the sperm, or out of the seed, and is altogether a spermatic substance ; 
therefore it can be helped by its like. For wherever the like is given as a help, 
there is introduced a new period of life, for many causes which we do not detail 
in this place, but make clear in our " Philosophy."* Furthermore, although we 
did not propose to write in this book anything about the nourishment and 
renovation of trees, since we undertook to treat only of the medicine of the 
human body, still, let those facts about the trees and other transmutations 
of this kind be set down, in order that, parabolically, and by those examples, 
we may make our meaning easier to be understood. The quintessence of 
the seed of the nettle (otherwise the lavender) if it be poured on to any root 
of its own herb, so that this herb may receive its tincture and be affected by 
it, it remains another year as in the former year, not putrefying until that 
second year shall have been completed. 

In like manner, if the quintessence of the seed of quinces be poured on the 
root of a quince tree, the tree remains green to the end of another year, and 
also produces flowers and fruits. In the same way, the quintessence of cherries 
causes trees to put forth their fruits twice in a year, as if in two summers ; one 
is the middle summer of the seasonable cherry trees, and the other summer is 
made like the former. 

Not only, therefore, is it fit that we should speak of the quintessence of 
the sperm, but also concerning the arcanum of the sperm, from which pro- 
ceed far more wonderful things than we have already pointed out. 

So then, let us first make clear the process of this practice. In the 
first place, it is alike among men and animals. Secondly, it is made out of 
primal matter only in the following way : 

Take primal matter, let it digest in a flaccum in a resolutive digestion 
for a month. To this let there be joined the addition of a monarchy of 
equal weight. Let them be suffered to digest again from one to two months. 
Then distil this matter [? by the cloth] and what ascends will be the arcanum 
of the primal matter, concerning which we are here writing. And let no one 
wonder at the brevity of this method or process, for complexity is apt to 
involve much error. 

Concerning the Arcanum of the Philosophers' Stone. 
I am neither the author nor the executor of that Philosophers' Stone, which 
is differently described by others ; still less am I a searcher into it, so that I 
should speak of it by hearsay, or from having read about it. Therefore, since 
I have no certainty thereof, I will leave that process and pursue my own, 
as being that which has been found out by me through use and practical 
experiment. And I call it the Philosophers' Stone, because it affects the 

• Paracelsus has bequeathed to his followers a Philosophy of the Four Elements, a Philosophy addressed to the 
Athenians, an Occult Philosophy, Five Philosophical Tracts, and a vast system under the title of Philosophia Sagax. 
The connection of the living spirit with the sperm is discussed very largely in most or all of these, as, indeed, elsewhere 
in his writings. Under these circumstances there is scarcely any need, as, in fact, there would be great difficulty to 
distinguish the special section to which reference is here made. 

42 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

bodies of men just as their's does, that is, just as they write of their own. 
Mine, however, is not prepared according to their process ; for that is not 
what we mean in this place, nor do we even understand it. We do not set 
down in this our practical treatise the process of the operation, since we have 
before mentioned it in the beginning of this book when we were writing 
of its force and its effects, which it has by means of separation. 

Concerning the entrance of this penetration, you shall also further note, 
by which entrance it penetrates the body and all that therein is. For by that 
penetration it restores and renews it, not that it removes the body altogether, 
and introduces a new body in its place, or that, like the primal matter, it 
infuses its spermatic arcanum thereinto, but that it so purges the old whole 
body as the skin of the salamander is purged, without any injury or defect, 
and the old skin none the less remains in its essence and form. In like 
manner, this Philosophers' Stone purifies the heart and all the principal 
members, as well as the intestines, the marrow, and whatever else is con- 
tained in the body. It does not allow any disease to germinate in the body ; 
but the gout, the dropsy, the jaundice, the colic, fly from it, and it expels 
all the illnesses which proceed from the four humours ; at the same time, 
purges bodies and renders them just as though they were newly born. It 
banishes everything that has a tendency to destroy nature, none otherwise 
than as fire does with worms. Even so, all weaknesses fly before this 

This Philosophers' Stone has forces of this kind, whereby it expels so 
many and such wonderful diseases, not by its complexion, or its specific form, 
or its property, or by any accidental quality, but by the powers of a subtle 
practice, wherewith it is endued by the preparations, the reverberations, the 
sublimations, the digestions, the distillations, and afterwards by various 
reductions and resolutions, all which operations of this kind bring the stone 
to such subtlety and such a point of power as is wonderful. Not that it had 
those powers originally, but that they are subsequently assigned to it. Some- 
thing like this is to be understood in the case of honey, which, by its 
elevations becomes far sharper than any aquafortis or any corrosive, and 
more penetrating than any sublimate. Such a property of sharpness it has not 
by nature, but this proceeds solely from the elevation, which changes all the 
honey into a corrosive. In these eff"ectual Arcana, too, it must be considered 
that those who use them, as well as the children sprung from them, live after- 
wards endued with such health that no sickness or ailment, or anything like 
a flaw, afterwards happens to their bodies, but they are adorned altogether 
with such a subtle and pure complexion of Nature, that it is impossible a more 
noble state of the complexion can be induced. For that most choice and 
excellent medicine effectually renews and purifies, and introduces an 
incorruptible life, which cannot be contaminated by any kind of life. It 
suffers nothing to become enfeebled, but secures that men shall live in the 
highest nobility of Nature, while it advances their offspring to the tenth 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 43 

This Philosophers' Stone not only transmutes one weight, but this trans- 
mutes another, and this again another, and so on, in so far that these 
mutations might be extended ahtiost endlessly, just as one light kindles a 
second, and this second a third. So it should be understood of the Philos- 
ophers' Stone in relation to health, as out of a good tree good seed and good 
shoots are born, out of which again good trees are produced. The power 
and potency of the Philosophic Stone is exalted to so wonderful an extent 
that it is impossible to trace how it can be naturally brought about ; and 
unless most evident signs lay open to our eyes, it would be incredible that men 
could perfect and accomplish such wonderful things ; since the virtue of that 
operation passes from generation to generation without any break. On the 
other hand, by the mercy of God, it exists in one body, and at length, accord- 
ing to their deserts, it is either denied to others or conceded as a special act 
of grace. 

Now let us set down the process of our Philosophic Stone in the following 

In the name of the Lord, take Mercury, otherwise the element of 
mercury, and separate the pure from the impure. Afterwards let it be rever- 
berated even to whiteness, and then sublimate this by sal ammoniac until it is 
resolved. Let it be calcined and again dissolved, and digested in a pelican 
for a month. Then let it be coagulated into a body. This body no longer 
burns nor is consumed in any way, but remains in the same state. Those 
bodies which it penetrates are permanent in the cineritia, and cannot be 
reduced to nothing or altered ; but the stone takes away every superfluous 
quality from sensible and insensible things, as we have before related. And 
although we have set down a very short way, nevertheless it requires a prolix 
labour, difficult in its adjuncts, and requires an operator who is affected by no 
weariness, but is in the highest degree active and expert. 

Concerning the Mercurius Vit^. 

Next in order we wish to write concerning the Mercurius VitcB, the 
virtue of which far excels the virtues of the two preceding Arcana ; for that 
virtue consists, not in the art or in the operation, but in the Mercurius Vita 
itself, like which we have never known any simple anywhere existent ; foras- 
much as that nature and property is innate therein, not from the virtues of 
the quintessence or of the elements, but from the specific quality of its pre- 
destination. Neither has it only the virtues of transmuting persons and other 
essential things, but also of renewing every growing thing, and their likes, 
out of the old quality into a new, after the following manner. The Mercurius 
VitcB reduces Mars into its primal matter, and again transmutes it into its per- 
fect matter, so that out of it iron is again made. It also renovates gold in the 
same way, because it reduces it into proper mercury and tincture, and again 
digests it into gold, so that it becomes a metal as before. 

44 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Nor, in truth, operate in metals only, but similarly in other bodies, 
as in herbs. When their roots are suffused with it they will bring forth a 
second crop of flowers and fruits. If the first seed has fallen off, and they 
are at that time suffused with the same, they will produce second flowers and 
fruits, irrespectively of the season. 

And none otherwise must it be understood of animals than of men and 
other things. When this Mercury is applied it renovates all their old and 
consumed members, and restores the defective and lost powers into a youthful 
body or abode, so that in old women the menses and the blood flow naturally 
as in young ones. It also brings back aged women to the same perfection of 
nature as the younger ones. 

Concerning the arcanum of life it is further to be remarked that its 
forces exist so potentially in its specific form that it separates the old from the 
new, or age from youth ; that it augments the latter, and so renovates the 
period of life. Whence it may be inferred that youth and its powers do not 
fail on account of old age, but that these exist equally in the old as in the 
young. The corruption, however, which grows up with youth is so 
strengthened that it takes away the powers, whence old age is recognised. 

As soon, therefore, as this corruption is separated from youth, that 
youth again manifests itself without let or hindrance. Now this must be 
understood thus : When any body or corpse putrefies, the quintessence thereof 
is not putrefied, but remains fresh and unconsumed, and is separated from 
the corpse into air, or sometimes it is scattered into the earth or into the 
water, according to the place whither it goes. For there can no destruction 
of the quintessence occur, a fact which must be clearly noted and regarded 
with admiration, as we teach in our treatise on Corruption and Generation.* 
So, also, a rose putrefied in dung retains its quintessence in itself, even 
whilst in the dung. Though everything becomes foetid and putrid, still, in the 
separation of the pure from the impure, the quintessence lives without spot or 
blemish, though the bodies are noisome corpses. Thus, therefore, we say of 
the Mercurius VitcB that it separates corruption, even as in wood it separates 
that which is decayed. So powerful, also, is it in man, that, after the 
corruption shall have been separated from him, the quintessence is again 
excited, and lives as in youth. And this is to be understood thus : Not that 
the Mercurius Vita stirs up a new essence, as some persons may malignantly 
interpret our opinion and experience, but that the essence and the youthful 
spirit whence proceed the forces of youth remain unconsumed, none the less, 
though, being oppressed, they are beheld as dead. The Mercurius Vitce removes 
the impurity, whence it happens that the aged life recovers most effectually its 
powers as they were before. As we said above when speaking of the king- 
fisher, it is renewed after death for this reason, that the quintessence does not 

* The reference does not correspond to the trecitise on the Nature of Things, and there is no other extant under 
this exact title. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 45 

withdraw from its abode. But if that dwelling-place be dissolved by putre- 
faction, then the quintessence is received into that upon which it lies. Whence 
it happens that there are often found wonderful conditions of Nature in 
growing things, not naturally existing in them, but by some accident of this 
kind, as we set it down in our book on Generations. In this way, then, the 
matter is to be understood. In dung there meet and are accumulated many 
corruptions, as from herbs, roots, fruits, waters, and other like things. 
Whence it happens that fields are rendered fat and fertile, not on account of 
the corruption, but on account of the quintessence existing in the dung, which, 
betaking itself to the roots, exhibits power in the growing things though the 
body, that is, the dung vanishes and is reduced into nothingness, its substance 
being consumed. Wherefore human dung has great virtue in it, because it 
contains in itself noble essences, as of the food and the drink, concerning 
which wonderful things might be written. For the body receives from it 
nothing save nutriment, but not the essence, as we write in our treatise on 

We will come, then, more strictly to the practical view of Mercurius 
VitcB, which, as we said before, perfects its operations in a wonderful manner, 
as, for instance, by shedding the nails of the hands and the feet, and 
plucking out grey hairs by the roots, it strengthens youth, so that corruption 
cannot demonstrate old age by those signs unless a second old age be 
again attained. 

Now, approaching the practice, let us treat with alchemists in a fev/ 
words; for there is no need to write much or to preach with prolixity to 
them. Pretenders and fools we will altogether exclude. Let this, then, be 
the method of practice : 

Take essentialised mercury ; separate it from all superfluity, that is, the 
pure from the impure. Then sublimate it with antimony, so that both may 
ascend and become one. Then let them be resolved upon marble and coagu- 
lated four times. This being done, you will have the Mercurius Vitce, about 
which we have before spoken, and with which, as with an arcanum, we will 
console our own old age. 

Concerning the Arcanum of the Tincture. 

None otherwise is the arcanum of the tincture to be understood, namely, 
that it takes away all the inconvenience from old age, all diseases, and what- 
ever corrupts the health or has an influence contrary to it. This arcanum is a 
certain tincture of such properties and conditions that it operates and induces 
health, not in the same way as the preceding three arcana, but according to 
its own name. The tincture tinges the good and the evil, the dense and the 
subtle. None, otherwise, does this perfect its operations on the body so as to 
transmute corrupt and ilL-disposed complexions into sound ones, just like that 

* This is another treatise which apparently is wanting. 

46 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

tincture which makes Luna out of Mercury ; it does not separate from it what 
is evil, but it tinges both the good and the evil, so that in the end they both 
turn out to be excellent. So, too, this tincture tinges the dropsical and jaun- 
diced body and makes it sound, not because the dropsy is taken away, the 
origin driven out or separated from the good, but it is transmuted into good, 
as it should be, and is settled in its highest and best grade, in like manner as 
the corrupted dung may, by the subtle corruption of art, be converted into an 
elixir, which drives away all corruption ; that corruption not being separated, 
but the entire substance being transmuted into another quality and nature. 

The same is to be thought concerning this tincture, that it tinges the 
body apart from all separation of the evil from the good, or expulsion of 
man's original essence, but by his renovation. 

Yet it should be known that the tinged body no longer lives in its old 
form, but, like a metal, is transmuted into another, as into copper or some 
other. Saturn has not in itself its old quality, but the quality of the tincture 
itself. None otherwise must it be thought of tinged bodies which have received 
the tinging of the tincture, that they exist no more in the former life from 
which they were transmuted ^by the tincture, but far nobler, better, and more 
healthful is the condition of the body and the form than its native origin 
was ; and it is like natural gold made out of iron by the tincture, as we have 
also written concerning Transmutations. If, therefore, this tincture is a 
transmuter of bodies into better ones, as in the case of metals which so 
few know or have tried, there will be as many and various corporal as there 
are metallic tinctures. And as of these one is always better than another, so 
with the corporal tinctures. It must be considered that some tinge and are 
tinctures naturally, as the crocus, flower, sulphur ; some are made by art, 
as a stone, realgar, and others. It is highly necessary that these things 
should be understood, because the beginning and the entrance to these 
tinctures which they exhibit is not unimportant. Moreover, it is to be 
remarked that these tinctures ought to be made for the seven principal 
members, and that to every one of them its own property ought to be assigned 
and given, as to the heart those that serve the heart, to the brain those which 
belong to it ; and such tinctures should be prepared from metals, herbs, and 
like things which are proper. So it will happen that by them the whole body 
will be tinged. Nor will it suffice that it be tinged by one tincture only, but 
as one tincture tinges only one metal, so must it be judged of these. The 
practical preparation of the Tincture should be as follows : — 

Take the essence of the members, from which you will separate the 
elements. Afterwards put the fire of them in digestion, and leave it so long 
until there remains nothing more at the bottom and nothing of the matter 
appears substantially. Then take the matter, and the glass luted in this way 
with the lute of Hermes ; put it in a moist, cold place, where again it will be 
resolved into visible matter. That visible matter is the one concerning 
which we have written. With these few words we conclude : for if we were 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus, 47 

to write more concerning it, that would be a handle for the derision of the 
stoics.* From this we would fain be exempt, and speak only to alchemists. 

* In another place Paracelsus affirms that arcana are not old things but new, not ancient but recent productions. 
The ancient productions are substances and forms as they exist in the world. And as the form of these things is no 
good to us, but must be resolved and renovated in order that it may be of use, so there is needed in addition the 
removal of all properties, whether of heat or cold. That is, unless the solatrum lose its cold it does not become a 
medicine. Similarly, unless anacardi lose their heat they will in no wIsq prove a remedy. In short, unless all the old 
natures pass away and are removed, and are brought over into a new birth, they will never be made into medicines. 
This removal is the beginning of the separation of the bad from the good. Thus, therefore, the latest medicine, that is, 
born recently, is left, without any complexion and the like, a pure and absolute arcanum.— /'rt?-rt;«zV«»/, Lib. II., De 
Origiite Morhoruin ex Tribns Friniis Substaniiisy c. 2. 

The End of the Fifth Book of the Archidoxies from the 
Theophrastia, Concerning Arcana. 

From the Theophrastia of Paracelsus the Great. 

Concerning Magisteries. 

THE preceding books on most excellent medicines having been finished, 
we propose to add this one treating of the Magisteries : and first to 
declare what a magistery is. It is, then, that which, apart from 
separation or any preparation of the elements, can be extracted out of things ; 
and yet by the addition of something the powers aud virtues of those things 
are attracted to that material and kept there. 

Those virtues do not in any way proceed from Nature, so far as their 
operation is concerned, nor from a specific virtue, but from a mixture whereby 
virtues of the same kind are attracted. If vinegar be poured into wine it 
renders the whole vinegar. Now, this is a magistery. When wine is poured 
upon honey the wine is so transmuted ; so there is no magistery in that case. 
Those things, therefore, must be considered which relate to a magistery, even 
as wines do to vinegar. For such as are perfect, or, as should be the case, 
ill adapted for this purpose, cannot produce a magistery. So, then, the 
natures of things come to be considered. In the same way, the difference of 
the extractions of magisteries must be noted, as, for instance, out of metals, 
marchasites, stones, herbs, and the like matters, by those things which are 
not metallic, but which become like metals, just as wine is made like vinegar 
in its powers, its virtues, and its taste. The cause that wine does not appear 
different from vinegar is, that a nature like vinegar exists in it, whence it 
happens that the appearance of their natures is the same. If, in like manner, 
the nature of metals be but pure, it equally appears in their magisteries, but 
yet it is not of the same property. 

Moreover, mention must be made of additions. Those things which are 
taken for this purpose, though they are not of one and the same complexion, 
power, or action, nevertheless agree in preparation, since that which results 
from power of this kind is appropriated and not complexioned. By means of 
these substances the metals aflFord their magisteries, which, indeed, are no less 
to be accounted of than quintessences on account of their virtues. Gold in its 
magistery lays down all its quality and complexion in one essence. It must 
not for that reason be supposed that because the body is of no account the rest 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracehus. 49 

will therefore be infected with that failing ; for in this case its leprosy is in no 
way injurious, but the thing is entirely good. Sugar, again, is wholly sweet 
whilst as yet it remains in the body and is not separated, and it can be so 
prepared, while retaining its sweetness, that it shall turn out by far sweeter 
and more efficacious than it was before. But the quintessence when extracted 
is not sweeter than when in or with its own body. Wherefore, this body by 
no means brings loss to it. But still its virtue separated from the body is less 
than when prepared in or with it. The magistery amends it more than Nature 
can be supposed to do. 

The same must be understood of stones, which enter into the number of 
magisteries, and also of their bodies, namely, that what is assumed for their 
use is not deficient in its virtue, but is a sufficiently powerful magistery. This 
you may understand thus, as when sulphur is lighted and burnt up ; that 
which burns is the very smallest part ; and so likewise stones ; for example, 
the crystal, when it is reduced to a magistery, brings all stones to their first 
matter, and grinds them in a wonderful manner, in the same way as its 
essence does, for this reason, that the nature is tinged by the quintessence, 
and may be held for a quintessence, as in the case of the vinegar and the 
wine, of which the one makes the other like itself without any defect. In like 
manner, it is not only in stones that tincture of this kind is made, but also in 
metals, as the quintessence of gold tinges all its body into a pure quint- 
essence, which light we think great, and even too great, for it is the light of 
all the secrets in our Archidoxies : wherefore we kindle coals with a light 
mind, so that we may investigate the final end of these secrets of Nature. We 
derive our instruction from examples proved experimentally by ourselves, as 
in magisteries, and chiefly in that of gold, which, containing the body and the 
quintessence, is drawn therefrom just as the quintessence is. Wherefore our 
magisteries are known to be dowered with special virtues, and we write them 
down to our own praise even until death. 

We speak also in like manner concerning the magisteries of herbs, which 
indeed are so efficacious that half an ounce of them operates more than a 
hundred ounces of their body, because scarcely the hundredth part is quint- 
essence. So, then, the quantity thereof being so very small, a greater mass 
of it has to be used and administered, which is not required in the case of 
magisteries ; for in these the whole quantity of the herbs is reduced into a 
magistery, which is not then, on account of its artificial character, to be 
judged inferior to the true extracted quintessence itself. One part of this being 
exhibited is of more avail than a hundred parts of a similar body, for this 
reason, because the magisteries are prepared and rendered acute to the 
highest degree, and are brought to a quality equal to a quintessence, in which 
magisteries all the virtues and powers of the body are present, and from these 
its own helping power arises to it. For in them the penetrability and the 
power of the whole body exist, from the mixture that is made with it. 
For the body receives none of those things with any desire except such as 

5© The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

are spiritual to it. Whence it happens that it attracts that magistery and 
mingles itself therewith none otherwise than as gold attracts to itself the 
Mercurius Vitce, and is mingled therewith. Now, iron does not do this, 
because they are not, in their composition, so much in agreement with each 
other. So, then, both the body of it and this magistery are amalgamated, 
and become one ; and hereof many examples may be found which need not be 
brought forward in this place. 

Some of the marchasites, too, perform the office of a medicine in a like 
way, although with a difference : that is to say, they leave their body, and 
the best part of them, as the juice, is extracted, and none the less exists as 
a magistery, though the body be separated from it. This, however, must 
be understood, that it is not the body of the marchasite, but rather of the 
earth or the mineral in which the marchasite exists. Its virtue, therefore, 
is not efficacious of itself, that the earth or the mineral should be separated 
from it, but it abides therein as in a marchasite, which, indeed, it is thought 
to be. In order, therefore, to make it clear concerning a marchasite, what it 
is, whence produced, and with what virtues endowed, we wish to relate its 
practice in the following treatises, and also to describe the art of its prepara- 
tion. The process, however, cannot be comprised in one general explanation, 
but the matter must be treated of particularly, concerning each special case, 
as of metals by themselves, marchasites, too, in particular, and also stones 
and herbs. 

There is, likewise, reckoned a special magistery of the blood, which is 
taught in a peculiar form and manner. In it is considered what virtues and 
forces of man exist, and what its nature contains in itself, in what there is 
any defect produced, and so on ; but still, without diminution of the natural 
creation, but that it may be considered as a complete and perfect work in all 
its parts, as a bird with all its feathers. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Magistery from Metals. 

First of all, we will set down the magistery from metals, and make that 
clear which openly shews itself to be of wonderful virtues, which are to be 
known according to the tenour of its essence. The process of them must 
be carried on without any corrosives and all things which are complexioned 
contrary to the metals. For, from the conjunction or mixture of contrary 
things, the essences are corrupted, so that, on account of this error, they 
put forth no virtues, since the one contrary or the other predominates and 

Seeing, therefore, that great account is to be taken of agreement, only 
the temperate will agree therewith. Consequently you must know what is a 
temperate thing. A temperate body is one of a certain complexion ; this 
receives another into itself, and is incorporated with that which shall be joined 
to it, so that it no longer displays its old and special complexion, but only the 
virtues of that which has been added to it. So, forsooth, vmum ardens has in 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelstis. 51 

itself a full and perfect complexion ; but yet, whatever is put therein, it, so to 
say, complexionates more abundantly, fulfilling its operation thus, according 
to the power of that which was put into it. 

Since, then, it attracts the virtues of other things and subdues its own, 
it is on this account said to be temperate, and is deservedly so called. Here 
some differences call for notice ; we understand the elements only, so that we 
are able to say of oil that it draws to itself foreign natures and hides its own 
element. From anything like these a magistery ought to be made, so that 
the virtues of the metals may pass into the same temperate thing, may be 
cleansed and purified therewith, and may be distilled to their own end. A 
magistery like this, after it has been purified, shall be called potable, because 
it can be taken in drink : whence it comes that the magistery of gold is called 
aurum potabile, that of the moon argentum potabile, so also iron, lead, 
quicksilver, etc., will be capable of being made potable, and so called and 
described according to their complexions, in relation to which processes they 
have far greater operation than it becomes us to describe. After the following 
manner, with one temperate thing, and by one process, as also by one 
practical method, all the magisteries of the seven metals can be made. The 
practical method is as follows : — 

Take circulatum thoroughly purified, even to its highest essence, in which 
place very thin metallic plates or filings of any metal you please, perfectly 
and subtly wrought and purified. When these two have been put together 
in a sufficient weight, let them be circulated for four weeks, and by means of 
this temperate medium, the leaves will be reduced into an oil, and into the 
form of a fattiness swimming at the top, coloured according to the condition 
of the particular metal which you shall separate by means of a silver 
attractorium from the circulatum. This same is the potable gold or silver. 
The like is extracted with the other metals, and may be taken as drink, or 
with food, without any harm. 

The Extraction of the Magistery out of Pearls, Corals, 

AND Gems. 

The Magistery from precious stones is to be understood in the same way 

as from metals, according to the virtues which each stone has in harmony 

with its nature. It must be remarked, however, that for stones there is no 

need of a temperate medium, or of any addition whatsoever, because the 

solution of them is not the same as the resolution of metals, but the magistery 

of them is extracted in another way ; in the practice of which three processes 

are understood, one for gems, another for marchasites, and a third for corals, 

according to which stony growing things may be brought each into its own 

magistery. In the process of stones, the colours need not be considered, nor 

their brightness be taken into account, since all their magisteries have a white 

colour. So also pearls, with the exception of corals, which retain their 

colours in a remarkable way above others in the magistery. In them, there- 


52 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

fore, the colour is chiefly to be noted ; for the magistery of them, together 
with the body and the element and the whole essence, is extracted by means 
of additions, without any corruption. None the less, however, they may again be 
restored to their perfection. Wherefore, in respect of their generation and 
nature, they cannot be compared to stones, and yet they have a stony con- 
dition. This, too, may be done : the whole colour may be extracted out of 
the body of corals into another medium, and afterwards from their body a 
form may be made as if from clay. After this formation the colour can be 
again infused, so that it becomes a coral as before. This cannot be done with 
pearls or gems, which are unable to return to their perfection by a similar 
process, but they remain in their magistery, their essence not having been 
corrupted. We have even seen this penetrate glass and instruments, and 
form them according to its nature. The magistery of the magnet has drawn 
things towards itself, in the form and after the manner of the material 
magnet, and afterwards it has fixed itself in the glass and tinged that, so that 
this also has attracted needles and straws. None otherwise must it be under- 
stood of the rest. Therefore they must be kept in gold only. More of these 
things have occurred to us than is credible, whereof we put together this 
record, so that from this inducement other persons also may investigate the 
arts and the magisteries. Since, therefore, they exhibit a demonstration apart 
from other extractions, we will now teach the practice of them in the following 
manner. First we will speak of gems. 

Take gems, having first bruised them and calcined them according to the 
reverberatory condition, together with common salt-nitre, of an equal weight, 
that is to say, one pound. Let these be burnt together into the form of lime, 
and afterwards washed in vinum ardens until no surplus matter can be found. 
After the washing, calcine this substance again, and cause the whole of it 
together to pass through the vinum ardens. Let this evaporate by boiling ; 
and thus you will have an alkali, which dissolve in water and keep. There is 
no reason why you should fear to make use of this administration, since, 
however sharp and calcined it may be, with all its sharpness it only affects 
that which resists it ; and it is so subtle, that one single drop alone tinges the 
whole body so as to produce a remarkable virtue. 

Pearls, too, are to be reduced to a water in the following way, namely : 
Take corrected vinegar, in which place bruised pearls, and let them digest 
therein for a month ; so that they will be reduced to a water. Then distil it, 
and separate the acetum from it by a bath, having done which, you shall find 
the pearls in the bottom resolved into water. This is the magistery of pearls 
or unions. And although the process of this practice is a short and easy 
way, nevertheless, give credence to one who has tried it ; for the operation of 
these same things is indeed wonderful. This action of their virtues, how- 
ever, is not produced by art, but is placed in the nature of them, which is 
hidden in a dense substance, on account of which it cannot operate, just as 
is the case with a dead body ; but by making a resolution its body will be 

The Archidoxies of Theophrashis Paracelsus. 53 

vitalised.* Enough of this. Corals, hpwever, must be ground and calcined 
from the commencement with salt nitre ; then, afterwards, they must be 
prepared as gems are, and also resolved. So you have the magistery of 
corals, the virtues whereof I very much and specially wonder at, which God 
has bestowed on this growing thing, which also do operate powerfully and 
wonderfully, even as they grow. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Magistery out of 
Concerning the magistery of marchasites thus much must be known ; that 
they are only minerals. So, then, the mineral is not brought to its magistery, 
but only the true marchasite, as is also ascertained with regard to metals, 
since these do not pass into their magistery unless they shall have been first 
separated from their mineral. And although marchasites cannot well be sep- 
arated from these, still this may none the less be done in the magisteries. 
There are, indeed, different kinds of marchasites, such as the golden, the 
silver, the golden talc, the white, the purple, the tin or bismuth, antimony, 
granite, and others of a like nature, for all of which there is only one 
appropriate extraction. In like manner, the virtues and powers of them mani- 
fest themselves in medicine according to the conditions of metallic operations. 
And although they do not exist as metals, none the less they have the 
properties of them. Wherefore, we set down only a few details about them, 
because we treat them more at length in our book on Extrinsicals.f There is 
a difference to be noted, according as they come together and agree one with 
another, as gold and the marchasite, antimony and lead, which, indeed, in 
their fabrication and constellation are compared one with the other, but are 
none the less separated in their virtue. For in some marchasites there are 
more virtues than in the assimilated metals. This we see to be the case with 
lead and antimony, of which the one cures morphia, alopecia, and the like, 
and all scabs and scars, the leonine, the elephantine, the Tyrian, etc., which 
the magistery of lead or Saturn does not affect. So, then, the properties of 
this kind are to be noted, which are sometimes latent not only in great things 
but also, and that more abundantly, in smaller ones. Let us, therefore, go 

* Among other virtues which Paracelsus attributes to the pearl is the increase of milk in women when the supply 
is deficient. Let the pearls be resolved into a liquor, otherwise an elixir, but in the body a ferment. Whatsoever other 
things are required for this ferment, these the body supplies. The quantity administered must be regulated by the ex- 
perience of the physician. — De Aridura. Another method for the extraction of a medicament from pearls is as 
follows : -The matter in the form of a potable .sap is extracted from pearls, and this is so powerful that it can scarcely 
find its equal among sperms. Formula for compounding the Sup of Ptarls. — Take one pound of purest distilled 

vinegar, half a pound of circulated water of life, and four ounces of cleansed pearls. Reduce to a fine powder, prepare, 
digest with others for a month in a circulatorium. The matter of the pearls will then have sunk to the bottom like a 
thick liquor. Then separate the waters by effusion from the sap. Of this sap administer doses of six grains. There 
are many other processes for the extraction of this kind of sap, but the above is the most useful of all.— />*? Contrac- 
tlur'u^ c. 3. 

t The book concerning Extrinsicals, and that also concerning the Generation of Wines, mentioned a little further 
on, are unknown. A similar remark will apply to the treatise on the Properties of Things, which is cited in the seventh 
book. There is probably little doubt that many of these apparently missing works are merely the mis-stated titles of 
others which have come down to us. For example, the treatise on Physics which is quoted in Book VII. may be 
extant under a difl^erent name, or again, the reference may be to a projected treatise which was never accomplished. 

54 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

on to investigate this reason, why antimony has more virtues than its metal. 
Its body is not fixed, and not sufficiently digested into its own perfection, as is 
the case with Saturn, whence it assumes a volatile property. But the very 
material out of which it is produced is privative, and of a cleansing character, 
from its own natural property, as we set down in our book concerning Gener- 
ations. Hence it happens that it purifies gold and silver more than does the 
fire or any other element. Thence, too, it proceeds that it cleanses and purges 
the body, even as gold and silver are freed thereby from all their impurities. 
The magistery of antimony drives out leprosy in a more than credible manner. 
And so, too, must it be understood of the others. 

Let us now approach the practice by which we teach the preparations of 
the magisteries from all these substances, in the following manner : 

Take a marchasite, ground very small, and add to it so much dissolving 
water as will cover the breadth of six fingers. Let it be dissolved and subse- 
quently putrefied for a month. Afterwards let it be distilled and separated, 
as we teach concerning the metals, which having done, you will have the 
magistery of whatever marchasite you selected. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Magistery from Fatty 


None otherwise must it be thought concerning the extraction of the 
magistery from fatty substances, as the fat of amber, of resins, of oils, and of 
other things, even as they appear in like material substances. Concerning 
these there are three methods of extracting their magisteries. One special 
method is that of amber, another of resins, and the other of fatty substances, 
such as oils, tallows, butter, and the like. For amber does not in any way 
admit of the same process as fatty substances, since its virtues would be 
lost. Resinous substances, again, do not allow the same practice as amber 
does, for it would be destructive to them. We will therefore teach the 
preparations of those magisteries in three ways, since such excellent virtues 
appear in fatty substances, and these in many forms. In cases where essences 
produce no effect these fatty substances render aid ; for they have that 
property on account of their specific and appropriate virtue, which is not 
found to be so perfect in other substances, neither, indeed, is it so. None 
otherwise than as the difference is between corals and gems when compared 
must it be understood of these things, since the practice is as follows ; and 
first concerning amber : 

Take of amber well ground as much as seems good, and of circulatum a 
sufficient quantity. Digest them in a flat vessel in ashes for six days. 
Afterwards let the circulatum be distilled off from thence, and again poured 
on. Let this be repeated until an oil is found at the bottom ; which oil is 
the magistery of amber. This has revealed to us its wonderful virtues. May 
it continue so to do ! 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 55 

Resinous bodies are reduced to their magistery by the following 
method : 

Take of turpentine, gum, or resin, as much as you will. Place this in a 
luted glass vessel and let it be digested by itself for a month in a warm 
digestion. Afterwards, having mixed it with dissolving water, let it be boiled 
in vinum ardens for half an hour only. Then distil it in a blind alembic and 
let all stand for one day. Thus you will find certain oils distinct from one 
another, which separate. Each one of these is a magistery in its own 

But the magisteries of. oils are made without the addition of dissolving 
waters ; and these in like manner have virtues corresponding with the virtues 
of their matter. 

The Extraction of the Magistery from Growing Things. 

If we speak of growing things, we understand as growing things those 
which are green and afterwards wither, and again become green in their 
season, even as they were before. The magisteries of these are made and 
extracted from them in different ways, as, for instance, in one way from trees, 
in another from herbs ; the difference whereof consists in this, that the former 
is wood, the latter putrefiable matter. Therefore the leaves and flowers must 
be prepared as herbs are. Accordingly, we will set down these Magisteries 
separately. The preparation of the magistery of woods is as follows : — 

Take wood, cut sufficiently small, which put into a glazed pot able to 
stand the fire, and closely shut up. Let it be burnt in a coal fire for four hours. 
Then take it out and putrefy it in glass for a month. Afterwards distil it in 
ashes even to its last spirits, and when these are perceived, presently cease, 
so that the magistery may not acquire any evil odour from the fire. In this 
way you will have the magistery of the wood which you undertook to prepare. 

So, too, may seeds, roots, barks, and the like, which contain an oil in 
their material substance, be extracted. There lies hid in these extractions a 
greater art than is spoken of or understood, though the process is h^re shewn 
in its entirety. 

Herbs, however, and other things of that kind, must be mixed with vinum 
ardens, and putrefied with it for a month. Then they must be distilled by the 
balneum maris, and that which is distilled must be again poured on. This 
must be repeated until the whole quantity of vinum ardens shall be four times 
less than the juices of the herbs. Distil this in a pelican with new additions 
for a month, and then separate it. When you have done this, you will have 
the magistery of that matter or that herb which you selected. 

We now wish to make clear the magistery of wine, which, indeed, 
appears to be endowed with countless virtues, since it receives a nature of the 
same kind from many virtues lying hid in the earth, as we set down in our 
treatise on The Generation of Wine. Now, it should be known that the 
magisteries of wine are produced in two ways, one of which we pass over in 

56 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

silence, because the practice thereof is common, such as we use in many 
extractions of wines. Some practical methods for this magistery of wine are 
here set down. Certain persons seek to extract it while the wine is still new 
and boiling, during the time of purifying. Some bury it, and leave it so a 
100 days (or years). Most people separate it without fire. However, this 
may be done, I do not wish to write of it here. I will only hand down that 
method which I have proved experimentally. First of all, it should be known 
that wine is a very subtle spirit, though small in quantity, and contained in 
much phlegm. And although this be a quintessence, nevertheless, a magistery 
can be made from it, but by using a superior practice and process. 

It should be known, too, that there are more and greater virtues in that 
wine which has not yet deposited its tartar, since there are sometimes more 
virtues in the tartar than in the wine itself. The age of wine, too, is more 
commendable than its youth or newness, for its spirit is more digested by the 
lapse of a longer than of a shorter time. Moreover, it must be borne in mind 
that the wine for this purpose has to be buried in the cold earth, and the vessel 
containing it must be closely shut below and above without any vent. In this 
way it is preserved for many hundreds of years without tartar. We are un- 
willing to speak here of any prolonged time, which would be tedious ; but, 
nevertheless, let this be committed to memory. So, too, that is not a magistery 
of wine which is extracted out of must, or new wine, but a magistery of must. 
Nor is it a sign of art to distil it with its own fseces, or its own phlegm, as with 
vinum ardens, because in this way the spirits of the wine, which are in its 
essence, are destroyed. This should on no account be done. So, the oftener 
the best vinegar is distilled, the farther does it withdraw from the spirit of 
wine. Wherefore, the utmost care must be used sp as to see that the 
quintessence shall not be in any way corrupted in the magisteries, but that it 
shall rather be increased and fortified in its virtues. Again, when it is 
separated without fire, it cannot in any way be a magistery, since the 
substantiality is lacking to it. Also, it should be known that the spirit of the 
wine must be kept along with its substance and not with its phlegm. For in 
wine two substances are found : the one is vinous, in which is the spirit of the 
wine, and from which it cannot be separated ; the other is phlegmatic, which 
is mixed with the dregs, and with the sweet water. These should be separated 
from the true substance, as a metal is from its mineral, or from the earth. 

It must be known concerning wine that the dregs and the phlegm are, as 
it were, the mineral, and that the substance of the wine is the body in which 
the essence is preserved, even as the essence of gold is latent in gold. According 
to which we put the practice on record, that so we may not forget it, as 
follows : — 

Take very old wine, the best you can get as to colour and taste, and of 
the same as much as you please. Pour this into a glass vessel, so that a 
third part thereof may be full. Close it hermetically, and keep it in horse 
dung for four months at a continuous heat, which heat do not allow to slacken. 

The Arckidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 57 

Having done this, then, in the winter season, when the frost and cold are 
excessive, let it be exposed to them for a month, that it may be frozen. In 
this way, the cold thrusts the spirit of the wine, together with its substance, into 
the centre of the wine and separates it from the phlegm. Throw away that 
which is frozen, but that which is not frozen you must consider to be the 
spirit with the substance. Having placed this in a pelican with a digestion 
of sand, not too hot, let it remain there for some time. Afterwards take out 
the magistery of the wine, concerning which we have spoken. As to those 
additional processes which are in existence, and are put in practice, we will 
speak clearly when we shall treat of elixirs. Coming to an end here, we will 
ignore some of those other processes concerning wine which have little 
attraction for us. 

Concerning the Extraction of the Magistery out of Blood. 

We wish also to unfold our opinion concerning the blood, in which there 
are very many and wonderful virtues, exceeding belief, but still sufficiently 
evident, chiefly on this account, that the blood exists out of the best root 
and most potent fountain of the heart, as we make clear in the treatise on 
The Composition of Man.* In this exists, and can exist, no defect, for it has 
its conditions according to the nature of the heart, and is a costly treasure of 
the whole nature, with all that is therein. 

Here someone may urge that the blood, when it has flowed out of the veins, 
will be soon deprived, by the nature of the case, of those virtues which 
renew and sustain that blood. But this is not so ; for it can be preserved in 
the essence, as we shall point out below. Let us, therefore, consider the 
small number of men who live with healthy body and blood. Wherefore, care 
must be taken that men of this kind be brought to a renewed quality and 
essence by arcana and the quintessence, as we have before mentioned, so that 
the blood may flow from them incorrupt and healthy. Nor do we speak of 
man's blood only, but also of the blood of the sperm, which we describe in 
our secrets, in which blood there is no disease or alteration, but the most 
wonderful blood of the human sperm, which we intend to take in this place, 
and this for many causes not here set forth. We speak also of the blood of 
bread, which is to be taken for the same use and in the same way. For 
there are in it such virtues as we are scarcely able to scrutinise thoroughly, 
nor do we undertake the task of doing so to the full. In the same way it may 
be understood of other nutriments and comestibles, in all of which blood is 
present, although we do not see it in them any more than in bread ; yet, never- 
theless, by putrefaction, as in the stomach and the liver, it becomes blood. So 
also every condiment which is taken therewith is changed after the same fashion 
as in the body. We are unwilling to write of this blood more largely or at 

* The Liber de Gencratione Homiiiis, to which allusion is apparently made, exists only in the form of a fragment, 
and is concerned chiefly with the seminal philosophy ol Paracelsus. 

58 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

greater length, especially for the reason that we cannot make the subject 
agreeable to any but ourselves. We determine, therefore, to take rest in 
sleep, and then, waking from our pleasant slumber, we will go on to speak 
further about this blood. Let each thing prevail so far as it can by its own 
virtues, and according to what it has in it : for out of a good thing much 
good proceeds, and this always stands forth for our consideration. Nor 
shall we speak only of the blood of edible things, but also of potable things, 
which exhibit simply blood to our body. There can also be extracted from 
blood quintessences as well as arcana ; but of these former here we make no 
mention, having set before us to treat only of magisteries and to comprise each 
in this one : 

Take blood, shut it up in a pelican, and suffer it to rise up so long in a 
venter equinus until the third part of the pelican shall be filled. For all blood 
in its rectification is dilated according to the quantity, and not according to 
the weight. When this time is fulfilled you must rectify it by a bath. In this 
way the phlegms recede, and the raagistery remains at the bottom. Having 
shut this up in a retort, and hermetically sealed it, distil it nine times, as we 
have taught in the book, " Concerning Preparations." In this way you will 
arrive at the magistery of blood.* 

* The treatise Concerning Preparations makes no reference whatever to the extraction of a magistery from blood. 

The End of the Sixth Book of the Archidoxies from the 
Theofhrastia concerning Magisteries. 

From the Theophrastia of Paracelsus the Great. 

Concerning Specifics. 

IT remains, now, that we speak also concerning specifics, in which reside 
many marvellous and great virtues, which do not derive their origin from 
Nature, so far as they are warm or cold ; but besides these qualities they 
have one nature and essence, as we have mentioned in several places. Such 
a specific takes its nature from externals, as when a piece of wood is thrown 
into the fire and is burnt ; that burning is not part of its peculiar nature, but 
the being wood is. Specifics, therefore, are produced from a conjunction, as 
when mastick and colophonia are blended, an attractive substance is gene- 
rated, which is neither of these ; or, when terebinth is coagulated, a stone is 
produced therefrom which attracts iron to itself like the magnet. There are 
kindred substances which have such virtues, but from their compositions and 
from without. Ellebore, too, is compounded from the liquid of stone and earth. 
From the composition of these two a specific proceeds. So the oil of cherries 
and acetum after their digestion produce a laxative, though neither of them in 
its own nature has a laxative property. Wherefore, such specifics are produced 
out of their own nature by composition of elements and of the proper nature, 
just as tincture or colour, which is not derived from cold and heat, but from 
composition, as galls with vitriol produce ink, though neither the one nor the 
other is black by nature. So, also, sal ammoniac and urine produce a black 
colour, when both of them are white. It is after the same manner with specifics. 
They have their origin from externals ; but some things which assume such 
virtues from without may exist in any herb, not in any one kind only, which 
must be understood in the following way. Wherever the magnet has grown, 
there a certain attractive power exists, just as colocynth is purgative and the 
poppy is anodyne. This arises from the composition which exists in them. 
Hence it is that every magnet is attractive and all colocynth is purgative, 
But such is not the case with specifics from without, of which the condition 
is as follows : if one flint has the virtues of a magnet, and another like it has 
not such virtues, this latter would be an external specific. 

But it seldom happens that a peculiar condition is found in one herb and 
not likewise in another which is similar to it. Then, again, though many 

6o The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

similar specifics arise from influences, nevertheless, we will not here discuss at 
length whether they arise from the same influences or not. We prefer to 
reserve this discussion for its proper place in our Physics, and to pass it over 
here. Moreover, many specifics are found — the odoriferous ones, to wit — 
which derive their origin from composition and digestion, as water of vitriol 
with sal ammoniac possesses the odour of musk, though neither of the 
constituents has this by itself. There are many such, which become odor- 
iferous when they were not so before, and acquire a notable fragrance, like a 
rose or a lily, though they had no odour before, yet by labour, by digestion,- and 
separation, this fragrance is eventually aroused. In like manner, cow-dung is 
a foetid excrement, but if it be elevated, it acquires the odour of ambergris, 
while the residuum which is left at the bottom smells worse than human fasces. 

There are some diaphoretic specifics, producing sweat, which acquire a 
similar virtue by composition, as a burning coal placed on fat earth emits a 
vapour. So ginger placed on a bodj' burns, and is extinguished like lime 
when water is poured on it. 

This heat accrues to the ginger from the sharpness or asperity which it 
contains within it, and with a warm element it is coagulated like a stone, 
which, when placed in the fire, is brought to the same degree of heat. Indeed, 
every diaphoretic is a calx of the liquid of the earth, as we state in our 
treatise on Generations. In like manner, purgatives themselves come from 
composition, as in the case of rhubarb, which is also the calx of a liquid, with 
a certain diflFerence intervening : for as a Tartarus draught it is resolved into 
water, and has with it some liquid in itself when it is put in a damp place ; so 
also rhubarb and other purgatives have a manifold origin, as being a calx of 
the earth. Some remove the cholera, as rhubarb which is like calcined tartar. 
Some take away phlegm, as Turbith— so written because the word was 
wanting in the autograph. With these realgar is dissolved, but nothing else. 
Others cure melancholy, Hke senna, which is to be understood after the manner 
of nitre, which resolves stones as nothing else does. Some act on the blood, 
as manna, which, like arsenic, resolves sublimates. Thus we must judge con- 
cerning the difference of these substances, seeing they are divided one from 
the other as we have mentioned. Some which are strengthening are derived 
from composition, as sperm lacking strength, from which, nevertheless, a 
glandule is produced according to its predestination. So then the strength- 
ening specific is a certain predestinated body by the predestination of its com- 
position. But the carline, which is not produced in this way, attracts to itself 
the virtues of other herbs, and takes away their strength, which it then 
possesses solely, just as the sun attracts to itself the moisture from wood, as 
we declare more at length in the treatise on Generations. 

In like manner, also, some mundificatives acquire that virtue by 
composition, as when the calx of the earth is transmuted into another form by 
liquid, as resin, honey, gums, pitch, etc. Similar alterations exist in the 
flowers of Venus which at first are a purgative, as should be the case with a 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 6i 

calx. Afterwards they are reduced by fire into a styptic, so that they lose 
their purgative properties and have a mundificative eflfect. It is the same 
with corrosives which are salts, and sometimes calcined in earth, sometimes 
substantiated (if one may so say) into one matter, as we set it down in the 
book on the Different Species of Salts. Many and various are the properties 
of this kind in things, which we handle in our treatise on The Properties of 
Things, and about which we have said sufficient here. Also why some are 
hard and others, on the contrary, soft, this we are unwilling to disclose here. 
Our Archidoxies do not treat of the whole principle, but only the special subject 
of compounding specifics and bringing them to the highest grade of Nature. 
With these we will now deal in due order, putting forward our own 
experience of them, and leaving behind those crooked haranguers who talk 
about God and understand nothing but hypocritical rites and similar fables, who 
also are the enemies of such as practise these arts and arcana. They are plunged 
in worldly glory, romancing and cavilling through their capacity for much 
speaking. At it they go with both shoulders (as folks say) ; they flatter and 
pride themselves upon being wise, when they are only stupid and fatuous, and 
for filthy lucre's sake they befool their fellow men. Now, then, let us go on 
to treat concerning specifics according to our usual custom, and leave those 
University doctors, who only read and think — be their success what it may — 
to gnash their teeth against us if they will. 

Concerning the Odoriferous Specific. 

Now, then, let us speak of odoriferous specifics, in what way and in 
what form they are produced. And, first, as concerns their powers. An 
odoriferous specific is a matter which takes away diseases from patients, 
just as civet destroys ordure, with its odour. This specific mingles itself 
with the foul smell of the ordure ; and the smell of the filth can no longer 
hurt or remain. The stench is tinged with fragrance, so that the good 
odour is as strong as the bad one was before. Since there is nothing 
which can take away the good odour from civet or musk, it is transmuted, 
as we prove in many passages. Hence it happens that occasionally some 
of the excrement is mingled with the musk, because this penetrates more 
readily than any lily with all its operations. It is well known that more 
of bad odour than of good is met with ; for as tyrus is taken in theriaca 
in order to penetrate all the limbs at once with another influence, so, in 
our opinion, does the odoriferous specific act. 

By means of the odoriferous specifics diseases are cured in persons 
who cannot take medicines, as in cases of apoplexy and of epilepsy. Many 
odours exist which relieve the epileptic ; and many, too, which aid the 
apoplectic. They may not cure them, but they pave the way for a cure. A 
force of this kind, brought to bear on the body, immediately stirs up the 
blood, and by forcing this to the heart, revives it to an indescribable 
degree. We will therefore prescribe an odoriferous specific which shall 

62 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

serve as a foundation for compounding such specifics against all diseases. 
The process is as follows : — 

Take of white lilies, anthos, basilicon (carbon), cardamum, and roses, 
one handful respectively, with two handfuls of spike. Pound into a coarse 
paste. Add two quarts of the juice of oranges. Let all these be digested 
in a pelican for the space of one month. Afterwards separate them from 
their dregs with the hand, or, what is still better, with a press. Put this 
again in a pelican, and add one ounce each of mace, caryophylli, and 
cinnamon ; half an ounce of ambergris, two ounces of musk, and one ounce 
of civet. Having ground these very minutely, put them in the aforesaid 
pelican, and digest them in dung with the other ingredients. Then add half 
an ounce of gum arable in solution, also one ounce of similarly dissolved 
tragacanth. Place these in a closed glass vessel and indurate them with the 
clear part from white of eggs. You will presently see the mixture assume 
the form of glass. Break the vessel, take out the stone, and you will have 
the odoriferous specific, concerning which enough has now been written. 
It would, however, be well to add to it aurum potabile. 

Concerning the Anodyne Specific. 

Many causes combine to induce us to write about this anodyne specific. 
There are some diseases in which all arcana fail us, with the exception of this 
anodyne specific, which works wonders. Nor need we be surprised at this, 
when we see water extinguish fire. Just in the same way the anodyne specific 
extinguishes diseases. There are many reasons why it does this, but we pass 
them over in silence. 

That which rests or sleeps does not, in the course of nature, cause 
any discomfort. A paroxysm, if it sleeps, is not felt ; if it does not sleep, 
its operation is accomplished. We console ourselves with the reflection that 
many anxious cares and cases of melancholia are removed by simply sleeping. 

And note this : Sleep does not necessarily apply to the sufferer only, but 
may be predicated of the disease itself. We, therefore, compound a specific 
. which operates on the disease alone, not on the entire patient, as is the 
case in those applied to fevers. What we put forward would be deadly to 
the whole man, but is salutary in its application to the disease. We attack 
the disease itself, and so elaborate our remedy that the ailment shall have, or 
can have, positively no effect on the body. The following is the formula : 
Take of Thebaic opium, one ounce ; of orange and lemon juice, six ounces ; 
of cinnamon and caryophylli, each half an ounce. Pound all these ingred- 
ients carefully together, mix them well, and place them in a glass vessel 
with its blind covering. Let them be digested in the sun or in dung for a 
month, and then afterwards pressed out and placed again in the vessel with the 
following : Half a scruple of musk, four scruples of ambergris, half an ounce 
of crocus, and one and a half scruple each of the juice of corals and of the 
magistery of pearls. Mix these, and, after digesting all for a month. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 63 

add a scruple and a half of the quintessence of gold. When this is mixed 
with the rest it will be an anodyne specific, capable of removing any diseases, 
internal or external, so that no member of the body shall be further affected. 

Concerning the Diaphoretic Specific. 

Let us now speak of the diaphoretic specific, whereby every disease is 
cured which can or should, from its nature and properties, be treated by 
sudorifics. Such a disease is removed barely better than by any medicament. 
By means of the diaphoretic, a cold disease grows warm, and is removed by 
that heat. It has often happened to us that a cassatum of twenty years' 
standing has been cured by the diaphoretic ; and other diseases which they 
call intercutaneous, or which have their seat in the marrow. On these the 
quintessence has no effect, and still less the strengthening arcanum ; princi- 
pally for this reason, that there is not sufficient strength in the heart to drive 
away the cassatum unless this be done by the diaphoretic alone. As the 
sun warms a frozen stone, and liquefies the hardest ice, just in the same way 
the diaphoretic exerts its powers on a disease which can be overcome by no 
other power, however excellent and good. Now, although the flammula be a 
very warm herb, still its heat cannot be compared in the faintest degree with 
that of the sun ; and so these same warm diaphoretics diff'er one from the 
other. Wherefore we put forward at this point a specific which, as it were, 
summarises the diaphoretic properties. Take one pound of ginger, half an 
ounce each of long pepper and of black pepper, three drams of cardamum, and 
one ounce of grains of paradise. Let these be ground to powder, and placed in a 
glass vessel with an ounce and a half of best powdered camphor and two 
ounces of dissolving water. Let this mixture remain in a sealed glass vessel 
in sand so long until its digestion is completed. Then separate therefrom the 
dissolving water, let it putrefy for one month, and circulate it for one week. 
Afterwards press and keep it. This is the best and most powerful diaphoretic, 
acting more vehemently than could be believed both in cassatum and in other 
diseases. Enough on this point. 

Concerning the Purgative Specific. 

We must also describe the purgative specific. And although we shall 
have to consider its complexions and the like, still we base our remarks on a 
more solid foundation, and accept only those specifics which exhibit not one 
disease or another, but all diseases. Hence it is gathered that whatever in 
the case of cholera is superfluous, and of no moment, is removed by this 
specific. Similarly also in cases where the symptoms show the phlegm or the 
blood at fault, or in melancholia, as also in abscesses and other affections 
which cannot be cured by mere complexions, nor be resolved by purgatives, as 
is the case with many diseases. 

Our endeavour is solely to remove the peccant matter, whether it be 
corrupt or not, whether in the form of an abscess, or in complexion, or arising 

64 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

from any admixture. Paying no heed to the prolix and useless discourses 
of the University doctors, we give our thought simply to sanitation, and, with 
this end in view, we shall build up our medicaments. Of such a nature, for 
example, is tartar, which, by its nature and properties, takes away all putre- 
factions and is not inclined to cholera, to melancholy, to phlegma, nor to 
the blood, but expels all that is useless from the body, or that can do harm to 
it. In like manner, vitriol purges every complication from which diseases 
arise. Coloquinth does not drive out all cholera or purge what arises there- 
from ; nor does rhubarb effect this. Neither does turbith arrest or evacuate 
all that proceeds from phlegma. Neither does lapis lazuli remove the impedi- 
ments produced by melancholia, or manna drive out all bad blood ; but these 
two, besides other of our purgative specifics which we do not mention here, 
accomplish this, principally in all those putrefactions and superfluous faeces of 
the body, whencesoever they arise, just as water washes linen rags, and soap 
clears them from all defilement and impediments of any kind. So also do 
these act singly on single diseases. Let us then lay down a specific drug 
which, to our thinking, acts thus in the way just described. Take the 
magistery of tartar and the magistery of vitriol, mix them together, and 
afterwards add equal parts of the quintessence of crocus. Put them in a 
pelican, let them be digested for a month in sand, and let the drug of which I 
have spoken be carefully preserved. Concerning the other things necessary 
for this, greater intelligence exists among the erudite than among the 

And not only human beings may in this way be purged of their diseases 
and superfluities, but also trees and herbs. For in growing things, just as 
in persons, infirmities prevail, and their remedies, too, have grown, as we 
remark elsewhere. The magistery of vitriol heals the defects of anthos, 
when it cannot vegetate perfectly, and causes it to grow excellently, as we 
state in our work on Plants.* With these few words, therefore, we now 
conclude this subject. 

Concerning the Attractive Specific. 

Before we begin to speak of the attractive specific, it should be known 
that this attractive specific draws to itself everything that is superfluous in 
the body, and leads out whatever evil may adhere to it. This frequently 
happens ; and the result is proved to demonstration. 

Some attractive specifics are so adapted to the flesh that they attract to 
themselves a hundred pounds of flesh, just as a magnet attracts iron. It has 
happened in our time that an attractive of this kind has drawn a man's lungs 
into his mouth and so suffocated him. It has also occurred that, in another 
case, the pupil of the eye was drawn from its position right down to the nose 
and could never be removed thence. Attractives are found to act not only on 

* The Herliarius Theo/'hrasti contains no reference to the subject, and selections have already been made from that 
chapter in De Nattt*'alibjis Rebits which is devoted to vitriol, 

The Archidoxies of Theopkrastus Paracelsus. 65 

iron, but also on wood, herbs, flesh, and water. We have seen a plaster 
which attracted so much water that a vessel could be filled from it, and the 
water ran down from that plaster just as from the roof of a house. In the 
same way, lead, tin, copper, silver, and gold can be drawn by the composi- 
tion of attractives. By these same attractives, too, the branches may be torn 
from trees, a cow lifted into the air, and many other effects produced, which 
we have detailed in our secret writings as a Thesaurus ; so that we may 
admire and venerate that man alone who has brought it about by his art 
that so many discoveries should be made ; demonstrating as we do these 
incredible operations which so far excel Nature as it is constituted in 

We will, then, lay down certain attractive virtues for the body, whereby 
what is evil and corrupt may be extracted from it and separated from what is 
good, so that the attractive may be applied on an emunctory to the particular 
spot where any defect has shewn itself,. as on an ulcer which may be taken on 
an emunctory, or if a glandular swelling has arisen this must first be opened 
like an emunctory. We know from experience that by means of an attractive 
of this kind the pestilence has been extracted in a way that it would not 
become us to describe here. When this medicament has been used, no sick 
person has ever perished, however severe the disease with which he was aff"ected. 
The following is the recipe for the attractive specific : Take of the quint- 
essence of all gums of every kind one quart, a pint of the magistery of the 
magnet, one pound of the element of carabis igneus, of the element of mastix 
tgneus and of myrrh, each three pints, and ten ounces of the element of 
scammony. Of these make an ointment with wax, gum, tragacanth, and 
turpentine, using it as directed above. 

Concerning the Styptic Specific. 
We now have to speak of the styptic specific, the virtues whereof are very 
great, more so even than the others. When people see with their own eyes 
so many wonderful works of Nature, they urge us, in their delight, not to desist 
from them, but to tax our memory so as to impart what is offered by these 
arts of ours. And if, perchance, something was discovered by the old physicians 
and philosophers (which we deem by no means certain), that does not disturb 
us in any way, since all those things they wrote about were mere blind 
gropings. We delight in that great Nature which presents itself to our hands, 
and we rightly pass by the works of these ancients whom we esteem to have 
been blind, as we mention in many places. Is it not subject for wonder that 
styptics are so strong and possess a power in their quintessences, arcana, 
and mysteries, whereby two fragments of iron are so fastened together that 
afterwards they can only be separated by fire ? What is still more remarkable 
is, that one piece of copper can be so joined to another by similar styptics that 
they can no more be disjoined either by fire or by water. By a like attractive 
styptic a heap of stones can be conglutinated into a mass like a rock. In like 

66 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

manner, sand and lime, by means of such styptics, are welded together in 
perpetual compaction harder than marble. So far we speak of hard material. 
Let us go on to other kinds. By the same method we have seen leaves joined 
together so that they were taken for one concrete natural growth ; for instance, 
the leaf of the lily with the leaf of the rose in one combination. Blacksmiths, 
acting on my advice, have made their weldings as compact as though they had 
been originally one solid mass. 

We have seen, too, by means of these styptic specifics, the lips of a 
person so firmly drawn together on a single washing, that afterwards they 
could only be separated forcibly by instruments, the blood flowing freely in 
the process. Some persons, too, for a joke, closed up another's anus with 
these styptics so firmly, that when it was necessary to go to stool it had to be 
opened with a gimlet ! So, too, in the case of wounds and in rupture of the 
bladder, we have seen the compaction made so eff'ectually that no opening 
occurred in our time or during the life of the patients. Whatever limb this 
styptic material touched, it so contracted the orifice or the bare flesh that it 
could only be made smooth with a file. No water softens the force of such 
styptics, which is really much greater than we have described. So far, how- 
ever, as relates to medicine, we will detail the styptic specific as follows : — Take 
quintessence of bolus, that is to say, of iron, and the quintessence of carabis, 
otherwise called cathebes, one pound of each. Let these be digested in ashes 
for a month, and afterwards put in a pound and a half of dried tartar. Keep 
this body until required. This and similar styptics are inscrutable in their own 
bodies, but when employed on separate substances, they attract in an incredible 
manner, through the nature and condition of their great dryness. So, then, 
these styptic specifics may be called styptic beyond all others. 

Concerning the Corrosive Specifics. 

We would now describe in addition the corrosive specific, wherein marvel- 
lous powers are naturally present. It has this wonderful property, as compared 
with the old corrosives, that it completely annihilates metals, so that no body 
is any longer found in them, just as wood disappears in the fire. It is true that 
the consumption of metals is brought about by aqua fortis, but still some part 
of their bulk remains undiminished and unchanged in its essential nature, so 
that it can be once more brought back by means of fire to its original body 
and matter. But this is not the case after consumption brought about by the 
corrosive specific, and for this reason : because no matter is any longer found 
in this case which can by any means be brought back to a metallic nature, any 
more than ashes can be again turned to wood. It should be known, too, that 
this corrosive acts upon flesh in a way to which nothing else is comparable. 
Its velocity in one moment penetrates the hand like an awl. 

Now, we recount this in the interest of medicine, with the following end 
in view. In the body a good deal of putrid superfluous flesh grows up, in the 
way of ulcers, like fistulas, scrofulous cancers, etc., all of which can be cured 

The Afchidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 67 

by corrosives of this kind. In this specific a styptic virtue exists of very 
great power, by which it acquires special curative faculties. It might- really 
be called rather a fire than a medicament, seeing that it consumes iron chains 
and bars in a way beyond belief or power of description. We give the 
recipe for it as briefly as possible : Take one pound of aqua fortis rectified 
from its caput mortuum, half a quart of sublimated mercury, two ounces of 
sal ammoniac. Mix all these and let them be consumed ; then add an equal 
weight of mercurial water. No adamant can resist this corrosive. Although 
the same is understood concerning the quintessence and the arcanum, namely, 
that the skin may be taken away by either mode of cautery, and new skin 
superinduced in its place, as in leprosy, morphea, serpigo, lentigo, pannus, 
etc., against all these this corrosive specific comes into use; but we omit 
it on account of its violent action. We choose in preference this mixture, 
with which the skin should be washed, when it falls off and is laid bare. 
Afterwards it can be consolidated in due course. The mixture should be 
as follows :^Take one pound of the juice of the flammula, four and a half 
of cantharides, and 5 ij. of the Ignis Gehenna aforesaid. Mix and use 
as above. 

Concerning the Specific of the Matrix. 

One would speak of the specific of the matrix for several reasons, 
specially on account of the affections to which it is liable. But in this place 
we hesitate to treat of those substances which warm or refrigerate it, since 
these results can be brought about by magisteries and arcana. Here, how- 
ever, we set down two specifics, one for suff^ocation of the matrix, the other 
for promoting or restraining the menses. Suffocation can only be remedied 
by the specific, though not elementated or prepared for this object, but in its 
common form or essence, adapted to the said purpose even as the skin of the 
fig is. As soon as ever its fume enters by the vulva the disease is expelled. 
And this is chiefly remarkable on account of its being such a cheap simple ; 
and though it be prepared, the essence of its fume, wherein lies its sole virtue, 
is not lost. For promoting the menstrual discharge the method is the spleen 
of a castrated ox reduced to a magistery or quintessence. This is an admir- 
able provocative not only in young, but in old, women. 

As to restriction, the best method is to use the quintessence of coral, the 
oil of iron, or ferrum potabile, which restricts more than anything else.* There 
is no need to describe the properties at greater length, since this would 
be too prolix for our Archidoxies. It should be remarked that, under the above- 
mentioned compositions, that is to say, the incarnatives, the conglutinates, 
and the specifics, are comprised laxatives, mundificatives, and the like, under 
purgations themselves ; and so with others, as the deoppilatives under 

» By this oil of iron every genus of humid, fluid, and flaccid ulcers, those also which have swollen and ruddy lips, 
are completely cured, and the older and more deeply rooted the ulcer is, so is the remedy more ready and easy.— /?« 
Tuworihus^ etc., Morhi Gallici^ Lih. X. 


68 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

purgatives and attractives. Here we would conclude our book on Specifics, 
as an aid to memory, lest we forget them. In like manner the confortatives 
are also recounted in single chapters. 

The End of the Seventh Book of the Archidoxies from the Theophrastia 
OF Paracelsus the Great concerning Specifics. 

From the Theophrastia of Paracelsus the Great. 

Concerning Elixirs. 

AFTER many of the most secret mysteries of Nature, we desire to treat 
compendiously of Elixirs ; and that not in vain, since we see that 
there is latent in them the chief conservation, which compels us to 
bend our mind thereto without any rest.* For every elixir is an inward pre- 
servative in its essence of that body which shall have taken it, even as the 
extrinsical balsam is an external preservative of all bodies from putrefaction and 
corruption, a fact which is evident enough in balsam, that is to say, it pre- 
serves bodies so that they abide many hundreds and thousands of years without 
corruption or change, t 

When, therefore, we see a gift like this in balsam, which preserves dead 
bodies and keeps them in incorruptibility, it is to be understood equally that 
by this same gift, or mystery, the sound and living body can be far better, 
more usefully, and more conveniently preserved. But we have not this 
naturally that these mysteries of Nature and those constituted above Nature, 
by which we may preserve the body inwardly and outwardly from all con- 
trariety, should be known to us ; but among them many things meet us which 
are most occult. 

Concerning elixirs, then, it should be known that these have not their 
operations from Nature, nor from their complexion, but that they are mysteries 
rather than specifics, leading us to the very highest admiration of the Creator 
by many demonstrations. Yet they are implanted in Nature herself, so that 
they are in her, as is seen in the case of balsam. If, therefore, it be possible 
to preserve dead bodies, still more so living bodies themselves can be pre- 
served. And there is no reason why we should heed the words or arguments 
of our adversaries, but rather it is well that we should disclose our own, by 
which means we desire to guide towards the true foundation of the internal 
balsam, not heeding their triflings and their useless words who talk of a limit 

* The Scholia in Libros Paragrapliorum deline the elixir as a ferment, a quintessence, the pure substance separated 
from the impure. 

t Of balsam in general, Paracelsus says that it is a temperate thing, neither sweet nor bitter, nor pontic ; it is a liquor 
of salt and a salt of liquor. Therefore it most powerfully preserves from putrefaction. - De Tartaro^ Tract. IV., c. 2. 

70 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

of death and of its predestination, and close it in with determinate points. 
For God our Father gives us life, and along with it medicaments by which we 
are able to defend and sustain it. If, therefore, the limit of death were laid 
down at a precise point, it would of necessity follow that this other theory 
should be false, which is not the case ; but as long as we have power and 
knowledge, we possess the capacity of sustaining our life. For Adam attained 
to such an advanced period of life not from the nature or condition of his 
own properties, but simply from this reason, that he was so learned and wise 
a physician, who knew all things in Nature herself with which he sustained 
himself during so long a period. And there were many others, in like 
manner, who used similar remedies. 

There were in the days of Adam many who died without reaching his 
age, and some did not even attain our limit, as we are now constituted since 
the Deluge ; and these died just as we die, because they were unskilled in 
those arts which Adam and others understood ; and hence it happened that 
they were deprived of life before their due time, nor did their foods or drinks 
help them. 

Since, therefore, we are enabled from such examples as these to discover 
naturally that a protracted life proceeds from Nature, we desire to investigate 
what it is in which Nature and the gift of God consist. Some things preserve 
a dead body from putrefaction for one year only, as the oleum laterinum. 
Others preserve it for ten years, as the corrected oil of the philosophers. 
Some preserve it for twenty, as the water of honey. Some for fifty, as the 
distilled preservative. But some preserve it for ever without end, asbalsam. 
Some preserve it only for eight days, as salt ; others for a night, as distilled 
water. Some preserve it longer, as vinum ardens. There are also some 
others which preserve the body from corruption in a new and strong essence 
of Nature when a man is confirmed by them, as aloes, citrine, and myrrh. 
Some preserve bodies from corruption only by their great tincture, which is 
so powerful that it admits no evil, nor suffers it to grow or to enter secretly, 
as gold, the sapphire, pearls, arcana, magisteries, and the like, as has been 
before written about these. 

We purpose, therefore, to describe a preservative against all corruptions 
of the living and the dead body. But it is considered that a preservative of 
the living body must be taken at the mouth, so that there may be no member 
of the body which does not receive that same preservation, or which may not be 
informed by attracting to itself the benefit thereof. Moreover, it must be 
remarked that the spirits of the excrements existing in the bowels are so strong 
that they fight against a preservative, for this reason, that nothing which is 
putrefied can be embalmed or preserved, for it has not in itself any essence as 
recently dead flesh which is embalmed has. But this agrees with a preserva- 
tive none otherwise than as worms do with the best herbs, and as a 
putrefied substance does with one that is incorruptible ; since whatever is 
putrefied cannot be further corrupted or be changed, since there is no move- 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 71 

ment in it. On the other hand, a preservative cannot in any way be putrefied, 
for it is like gold, which never rusts. They are mutually separated one from 
the other, so that each fulfils its own proper function. This, therefore, is said, 
because, in lapse of time, the excrements are able to overcome the preserva- 
tives ; but this cannot occur in dead bodies, because they are disembowelled, 
or, if not yet disembowelled, they are coagulated by death, just as the blood 
withdrawing from the veins coagulates. 

We call this preservative an elixir, as if it were yeast, with which bread 
is fermented and digested by the body. Its virtue is to preserve the body in 
that state wherein it finds it, and in that same vigour and essence. Since this 
is the nature of preservatives, namely, that they defend from corruption, not in 
any way by purifying, but simply by preserving. The fact that they also take 
away diseases is due to the subtlety which they possess. So, then, they do not 
only preserve, but they also conserve. They have a double labour and duty, 
that is to say, to prevent diseases and to keep the essence itself in its proper 

Nor do they do this in human bodies only, but in all bodies possessed of 
sensation. Thus, also, dead wood can be preserved from corruption, just as 
any body that is treated with balsam. Herbs, too, can be preserved in their 
essence none otherwise than a living body can : since those conservations 
which apply to herbs keep them in the same essence as that wherein they 
find them, so that they flourish and remain as fresh as in the fields and gardens, 
or elsewhere, to the fifth or sixth day. If they find them with flowers, they 
preserve these ; if with fruits, these also. 

Nor wonder at this, when it is possible for dead wood to live again, and 
for iron to be so fixed that it shall never rust again, and likewise for sulphur to 
be made incombustible, all which things are beyond the understanding of a 
simple man. The cause of all these things we set down more broadly and 
fundamentally in the treatise on Conservations. Nor must they be considered 
impossible, since many other things which are deemed impossible can be most 
easily accomplished. We wish, then, to speak of the conservation of balsam 
by the distinctions of ages in the following manner. 

On Preservai ion and Conservation by Elixirs. 

We purpose to write of the first elixir, which conserves the body in that 
essence where it finds it, and does not suffer it to putrefy or grow weak, but 
conserves it in the spirit of life, so that no accident can happen to it. It also 
brings it to a third period of life, or to more. As to its use, the operation on 
dead bodies diff'ers from that on the living, since the dead must lie in the balsam 
nights and days, but the living and healthy bodies neither can nor need do 

Wherefore, this elixir must be understood to be of use only for life, and for 
the heart and those parts especially in which the life chiefly flourishes, that is, 
the spirit of life dispersed throughout the entire body. And it preserves the 

72 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

spirit of life in that virtue wherein a dead body or corpse is kept from putre- 
faction ; because, if a wound or an ulcer may be externally preserved from 
putrefaction and from every mishap, so, also the inner body is arranged so as 
to be defended from all adversity. Wherefore, we arrange the elixir which 
is directed to the spirit of life none otherwise than as yeast operates in 
paste ; and with reference to the body, as when a tree is tinged in its root, so 
that the same colour may never withdraw from it. In this way the whole body 
is preserved, when the tincture is more or less scattered amongst all the 
members and penetrates them none otherwis'e than as the whole metal is tinged 
into gold, and becomes gold, or is preserved from rust. So, also, is it in the 
conserved body ; there is no member comprised in it which is not full of the 

After that, being dispersed throughout the whole body, it shall have 
acquired its virtue, and already is exercising its operation by itself, no corruption 
can happen to it by contact, because the life of every member is full of the 
elixir as the body is tinged with the balsam. But it should be understood that 
it is not necessary the whole body should be affected with the balsam by means 
of the elixir which has been taken ; for where the spirit of life has only been 
surrounded therewith at its root, this suffices for the conservation of the body. 

Now we must come to the practical method ; and first of all treat concerning 
the elixir, which by the conditions of the powers of balsam preserves the whole 
body from decay. Then concerning that which preserves the body by the 
potential power of salt. Thirdly, concerning the elixir of sweetness, which 
supports the body in its conservation. Fourthly, we will treat of the elixir 
which enters the human body by the powers of a quintessence. Fifthly, 
another shall be appended which is truly noble by the force of its great subtlety : 
for it resists all the enemies of Nature, by which resistance it never suffers 
the body to fall into disease. In place of a conclusion, we will add that elixir 
which, by the forces of its own proper nature, is endowed with similar conser- 

Concerning the First Elixir, that is, of Balsam. 

Take of the true and very best balsam, well known to us, one pound. 
Let this be put into a glass covered with a blind alembic, and together with it 
pour in two ounces of the quintessence of gold and one ounce and a half of 
the essence of the greater circulatum. Let all these be digested together with 
a slow fire, so that the vapours may ascend night and day. Afterwards let 
the fire be increased so that some drops may adhere, and may fall down, drop 
by drop, for two months. At length let them remain in horse dung for four 
months, so that they may have their digestion without intermission. When 
this has been done the elixir is finished. It must be understood that this 
balsam or elixir becomes a fermentation which is developed and mingled with 
the root of life, and has the power of ruling the life in a good essence, so that 
no nature can resist it. None otherwise than as arsenic overcomes Nature 
for evil does this elixir, on the other hand, overcome it for good, defending 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 73 

the body. The dead body is kept safe by this odour so that it cannot putrefy 
when it is put in the tomb, and is covered up so that it may not evaporate. 
Much more do its own virtues remain in a living body, which we hope to have 
sufficiently explained in this place. 

Concerning the Elixir of Salt, by the force of which the body is 

There is no less power and virtue in salt than in balsam, whereof we have 
spoken ; for this reason, that flesh is preserved from putrefaction by salt for 
days, years, and long periods ; and that in different ways, and one way more 
than another. On the same basis it would be possible to conserve and to 
preserve the body ; not because we mean to use salt in the precise way as 
with dead flesh, but from it should be compounded the elixir of salt, which 
penetrates materially the spirit of life, so that it lives by the salt as salted 
flesh does. For this elixir is so 'subtle that it can be brought to bear on the 
spirit of life. Thus these two meet closely in one conjunction, so that the one 
is tempered by the other to perfection, just in the same way as salt perfects 
certain food in point of taste, without which it could scarcely in any other 
way be brought to perfection in respect of unity. And it must be remarked 
that the elixir of salt is a fermentation in which exists a certain tincture 
whereby the whole body is penetrated. It is also an inconsumable thing, 
which is not consumed in the body by digestion along with natural things, 
but is fixed as glass in the fire, which does not at all perish in the process. 
This fixed elixir so fixes the body that it becomes permanent in life, none 
otherwise than as when a metal is fixed, in which case no damp afterwards, 
no corrosive, or anything of the kind, can injure it, or produce rust in it. So, 
then, it may be inferred from hence that the elixir is a fixed body, like gold, 
into which nothing impure can penetrate so as to hurt it. The practical pre- 
paration of this elixir of salt we will set down as follows : — 

Take salt, prepared in the best possible way, very white and pure. Let 
this be placed in a pelican with so much dissolving water as may exceed six 
times its weight. Let them be digested together in horse dung for a month. 
Afterwards let the dissolving water be separated by distillation, and again 
poured on and separated as before. Let this be repeated until the salt is con- 
verted into an oil, to which let there be added an eighth part of the quintessence 
of gold. Let them be digested together in a pelican and in horse dung for 
four months, and afterwards circulated for a month. Let there be added 
another part of circulated wine ; and let them so remain in ascension for a 
month longer. When that time has elapsed you will have the elixir of salt, 
concerning which we have made for ourselves a memorial according to rule for 
the relief of our ancient days. 

Concerning the Third Elixir, namely, of Sweetness. 

We are certainly assured that bodies may be preserved from corruption 
by sweetnesses ; but by what forces this is done we set down in the books of 

74 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

the Generations of Honey,* Sugar, Manna,t Thronus, and the like ; and we are 
unwilling to repeat it in this place on account of the writings of the ancients. 
We are able to transmute sweets into an elixir, the preparation of which rather 
conserves the living body in its conserved essence than a languishing body. 
For it is the property of all specific sweetnesses, that they are neither corrupted 
nor do they allow this to be corrupted, unless by contrary things they become 
liable to corruption, as out of honey and bread worms and ants are produced, 
as also out of sugar and thickened milk. Out of manna and water is produced 
a corruption like dung. Many more similar compositions may be made, 
by which the sweets pass into corruption. That this may be obviated, the 
following is our intention and experience, namely, that in this composition 
such a thing should be taken as will not prevent the sweetness from remaining 
in its proper essence, and such as may be without the corruption of other 
things. In this way, it has the virtues of a balsam for preserving the dead 
fleshly bodies of corpses or other things. A like sweetness is the balsam of 
the earth, and some others of the dew, because it derives its origin from them. 
Now, therefore, we will set down the elixir of thronus, since no sweetness can 
be compared therewith, and it contains more mysteries than could be believed, 
as we state in our treatise on Generations. By the preparation of this may be 
gathered the methods of preparing other sweetnesses. Let that of thronus be 
as follows : 

Take as much thronus as you will, which place in a pelican, and set in the 
sun for digestion during two months, or, better still, for the whole summer. 
Afterwards let there be added a fourth part of the quintessence of gold, and so 
let them be circulated together for two months. Keep this. Although this 
method is short, nevertheless the elixir made by it is wonderful in the case 
of very aged persons. 

* In the description of the essence and property of honey, it must first of all be understood that the prime matter of 
honey is the sweetness of the earth which resides in naturally growing things, and is extracted out of the property of 
the same by magnets. Hence you ought to gather that in eveiy prime matter all that concerns growing things is col- 
lected, just as when several colours are combined one only appears though all are present. Similarly, also, the seed is 
the wood, the leaves, and the branches, not actually and in the present, but for the future, if it be brought forth and 
grow. So, also, in the prime matter of things there is a similar composite from which all growing things attract what 
they require. . . . Now ye must know that honey in its first matter is a resin of the earth, but resin is a gum not 
of all flowers and growing things, but of some only. Of some there is a resin produced, of others a sulphur and bitter- 
ness, and of yet others something else. That which grows in flowers and locusts is conceived with the form and appear- 
ance of honey. It does not yet dwell in its ultimate matter, being perfected by the Sun and the Moon. These two 
planets, however, can bring nothing to its final perfection without all the assistance of a celestial operation, which in 
the case of plants, etc. , is the summer star. . . . Honey, therefore, is a terrene spirit at first, but if there be applied 
the influence of summer, it generates a corporal spirit, that is, the spirit which in the sun and moon was terrene becomes 
a coi-poral spirit. Bees can remove the same and take it away to their hives. This is the prime materialised matter, 
for honey and wax are one ; if they be separated like chalybs and iron, it is then called a separated corporal from a 
. materialised matter. For as the alchemists, in a circulatoiy or pelican, circulate the spirit of wine, so, also the 
summer star in natural growing things circulates liquid. So honey emerges from the earth into the materialised 
matter, which is the subject of the bees, and this materialised matter requires further perfecting. . . . There 
is a threefold kind of honey in all growing things - the lowest, middle, and topmost. It is the last which the bees 
seek, and they find it in the flowers, where it is purest, the gross being always relegated by Nature to the lowest 
place.— ZJ^J/^Z/f. 

t Manna is the chiefest and most excellent nutriment and the marrow of locusts. It is the natural 
preparation of the star. The food of those bees that are fruitful in honey and wax is this manna and tereni- 
abin. — Ihid, 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 75 

Concerning the Fourth Elixir, which is that of Quintessences. 

Similarly quintessences can be reduced to an elixir, which, like balsam, 
conserves living as well as dead bodies. In this place we make very slender 
mention thereof, because it has been previously demonstrated in the process of 
quintessences. So, then, advancing a little farther, we will set down such 
things as we are mindful of as making for preservation and conservation. 
Afterwards out of the elixirs of those processes we will teach the composition 
of one elixir equally profitable to the body as the three preceding. It must be 
understood that this elixir of quintessences has in it a secret virtue which 
daily tends to restoration, and endeavours to renovate and restore the whole 
body. So, then, it produces something more than a mere conservation ; for it 
also renovates, not, however, so perfectly as we have described above con- 
cerning quintessences and arcana, but with inferior force, because the 
conservation and the restoration of these cannot co-exist ; still, by this method 
renovation is disposed towards conservation, in the following way : — 

Take the quintessence of chelidony and of balm, each two ounces ; of 
quintessence of gold and quintessence of mercury, each half an ounce ; of the 
quintessence of saffron and of all the mirobolanes, each one ounce. Let all 
be mixed together and remain in digestion of the sun, enclosed in a blind 
alembic, for two months. Afterwards add one ounce and a half each of the 
quintessence of wine and the magistery of the same, and let them be again 
digested as above for a month. Then keep it as a treasure, not only for pre- 
servation, but also for restoration. 

The Fifth Elixir is called that of Subtlety. 

Now, we have thought that we ought to set down something concerning 
the elixir of purity or of subtlety, which conserves by the force of its great 
purity, as is the case with the corrected oil of the philosophers. This suffers 
nothing which has been anointed with it to putrefy. The same effect is pro- 
duced by the corrected laterine oil, and many others, whereof the property, 
however, is not to preserve from putrefaction, but they acquire this, and take 
it as their property, from the preparation and the labour bestowed, as distilled 
or corrected wine does not allow putrefaction any more than digested wine 
does, and this, moreover, is not changed by the fire. 

The water of honey by its preparation resists putrefaction, so far as 
concerns sensible bodies ; though the crude substance thereof does not produce 
this effect, but is itself liable to putrefaction. Wherefore we set down an elixir 
of subtlety, since, just as mercury itself, which is volatile, is fixed and becomes 
permanent through its own water, so the human body also is fixed into con- 
sistency and permanence. Now, although this may be done by many other 
methods than that which we here describe, nevertheless, we mention only those 
which are experimentally known to ourselves. Not that on this account we 
wish to detract in any way from the others ; only we say that all these things 

76 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

have not yet come to our knowledge and experience. The process of this 
elixir is as follows : — 

Take olive oil, honey, and vinum ardens, one pound of each. Distil them 
all together after the manner of the alchemists, and do this thrice. Afterwards 
separate all the phlegm from the oils, which are distinguished by their many 
colours. Put all these oils into a pelican and add to them a third part of the 
quintessence of balm and of chelidony. Digest for a month. Afterwards 
keep it for use. No sensible or insensible body can resist it, on account of 
many causes and properties which we are unwilling to set down in this place. 

The Sixth Elixir, which is that of Propriety. 

Equally from natural objects a perfect elixir can be extracted, as out of 
myrrh, saffron, and aloepatic. As to what forces it proceeds from, that we 
set down in our treatise on the Generations thereof. Here we only put forth 
the process, leaving the origin, which we often treat of elsewhere. 

Take of myrrh, of aloepaticus, and of saffron, each a quarter of a pound. 
Put these all together into a pelican, set them in sand, and let them ascend for 
a month. Then separate the oil from the dregs by means of an alembic without 
burning. This oil suffer to digest for a month, together with circulatum of 
equal weight. Afterwards preserve it. In this elixir are all the virtues of the 
natural balsam, and, moreover, such a conservative virtue for old persons, 
more than it seems right to assign to it. For not only one period of life seems 
to proceed from it, but four, seven, or ten. It is scarcely possible to express 
its force and natural powers, but, so far as our judgment goes, it has been 
sufficiently elucidated, nor do we think it requires fuller explanation. 

The End of the Eighth Book of the Archidoxies from the Theophrastia 
OF Theophrastus Paracelsus concerning Elixirs. 

From the Theophrastia of Paracelsus the Great. 

IN the preceeding books we have treated of internal diseases. Now we 
have to write of those which arise without, and to set down remedies for 
the same. Although we insert nothing in these books as to the origin 
of diseases, internal or external, we will lay down the origins of the medica- 
ments against them, and afterwards the composition of similar remedies for 
external ailments. Some refer only to wounds, and by these remedies a wound 
can be healed in twenty-four hours. This is to be understood in the following 
manner : — A wound that has been inflicted requires nothing else save that it be 
again connected or conjoined, just as two planks are connected with glue. 
You should on no account allow wounds to lie open, but should endeavour to 
refill them with flesh. This is a matter for the rustic rather than for the 
physician. Consider that when the lips of the wound are joined, as the planks 
by glue, they are more than half healed. What has to be done by some kind 
of medicament is to bring together each side as well and as closely as possible. 
Thence it follovirs that when the lips touch, and the compression of the medic- 
ament aids Nature, the cure is complete. So that no wound, in which no 
fracture of a limb is involved, can be so bad as not to be cured in twenty-four 
hours. Bones cannot be connected in the same way as flesh can ; so in this 
place we do not speak of them. You can understand the matter by an 
example. When some limb is altogether cut through, before the veins are 
dead, and while they are still warm and fresh, let them, as soon as possible, 
be moistened with the medicament, the wound joined together and its two 
sides connected exactly like two sticks fastened together with glue. Thus 
they are healed and grow together. This the medicament effects, which 
Nature takes care of by its power of resiccation, and heals through that 
power whereof we have spoken above. But it should be understood that the 
medicament for wounds should not be incarnative, or mundificative, or attrac- 
tive, because such medicaments draw out the putrid fluxes and cause much 
matter to be formed. Moreover, the opening or cavity of the wound has to 
be filled with flesh ; and this is done very slowly and, in consequence, with a 
good deal of peril, and without a magistery. This is also the case with old- 
standing ulcers, which in course of time have become loaded with discharges, 

78 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

whence it happens that they can only be cured with many accidents and much 
difficulty, indeed, sometimes can never be cured at all. Wherefore, there is 
urgent need of some medicament for them, such as we have mentioned, which 
also with a certain force compresses in like manner the skin and the cavities. 

In like manner, it must be remembered in the cure of ulcers that the 
formation of flesh is necessary, and this cannot be brought about by mere 
compression. As we said in the case of wounds, so in that of ulcers, fistulas, 
and the like, all these ailments have to be cured by the force of medicaments. 
We lay down, therefore, two fundamental rules for this flesh-forming— one 
being incarnative and the other exsiccative. 

And now to speak of other malformations of the skin, such as cicatrices, 
morphea, serpigines, pannus, spots, leprosy, etc., including all diseases 
arising from the skin. For these we prescribe the following method of treat- 
ment. First we ordain that all the skin shall be stripped off, just as the 
flesh is stripped from a calf. Afterwards a new skin must be induced by the 
proper medicament. It will be inferred that the skin must be removed by 
some medicament, and a new, pure, immaculate skin generated by some other 
in colour, like that which follows, so that not much of the flesh and the 
humour may be attracted thither ; and thus, as we have said, any spots are 
removed. The origin of such removal we have not from the beginning 
mentioned here, because it has been treated of elsewhere, and it does neither 
good nor harm to our intention and to our present teaching. There are other 
diseases also, such as cancers, buboes, and the like, which require their 
special medicament to remove their origin, and to purge away all their 
impurities. This is best effected by the attractive specific. Then there is need 
of consolidation, as we show in our treatise on fistulas and the like. 

Ruptures of the bones and the like can only be consolidated with an 
attractive styptic ; and this we need not discuss afresh, since we have spoken 
of it elsewhere. In like manner, many superfluous growths are found, as 
strumas, glandular swellings, etc., which ought first to be emptied and after- 
wards cured. 

We will, therefore, divide surgery into three parts or methods of cure : 
one referring to wounds, a second to ulcers, and a third to spots. Cancer we 
shall cure only with an attractive specific, and afterwards treat with those 
medicaments which we shall describe below. 

A Remedy for Wounds. 

If it be necessary to have such a medicament as by its special nature shall 
connect the lips of wounds, as glue joins two boards, this must be accom- 
plished by its very great dryness and its styptic qualities, which act on the 
flesh only in the following manner. 

Take Samech which has been well burnt and calcined to whiteness. To 
this add a smaller quantity circulated. Afterwards distil, in order that a very 
dry caput mortuum may remain at the bottom, and that the whole glass may 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 79 

glow. Then pour in fresh matter again, as before, and do this until the 
circulated substance comes out quite sweet, as it is in itself. Then allow it to 
be resolved by itself. 

That which is so resolved becomes a remedy for a wound ; in fact, it 
might be called " A Balsam for a Wound," because in our common German 
speech balsam is the same as Baldtzusammen, that is, mox co7ijunctiim (soon 
joined), and the term is not derived from the Latin idiom. We are unwilling 
to speak in detail as to the virtues of this medicament, but generally, we 
assert, it has such an effect on all wounds that with one single washing we 
have cured many hundreds of these in a manner which is not credible, judging 
by natural methods. 

A Remedy for Ulcer. 

Ulcers, it should be understood, must, in like manner, be compressed 
by a medicament with the addition of a generative virtue. The writings of 
the ancients are not worthy of our imitation ; they are malicious and wicked. 
What we have to consider may be expressed thus : " Compel them to come 
in ;" and we do it in the following way : 

Take of the aforesaid balsam for wounds, and of balsam similarly made 
from rust — of Samech, for instance— one pound each. Mix these together, 
and add a pound and a half of oil of iron. When all these ingredients are 
mixed together, let them be placed on the ulcers, which must be washed 
daily, as shall seem expedient. Let a consolidative plaster be applied such as 
we prescribe for ulcers. Follow up your ligatures thus to the end, until a 
cure is effected. It must be noticed that the members have to be compressed 
with these ligatures, as we have pointed out at sufficient length elsewhere. 
Let this suffice on the subject of ulcers. 

A Remedy against Spots. 

We have sufficiently explained the removal of the skin by a corrosive 
specific, and together therewith the cautery — how it is to be produced and 
adapted for use. After the skin has been removed, and with it the spot, the 
cure is as follows : — 

Take the above-mentioned balsam for ulcers, and add to this washed 
turpentine, oil of worms., and oil of eggs, equal parts of each. With this 
wash all the flesh when it has been stripped of its skin. After this treatment 
nothing more is required. The property of such a medicament is that it 
induces a new colour along with the new skin, and a natural hardness, so that 
it can be no longer defaced by the previous spots. 

Although it is true that such spots can be removed by many waters, as for 
instance, the water of bean flowers, of sigillum Marise and the like, as well as 
by human dung, still these do not come within our scope, since their purpose 
is not uniformly compassed, and the spots are much more effectually removed 
by the method we have pointed out. 

8o The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Nor let any be surprised that we set down so few and such concise 
remedies for the whole range of surgery, and do not follow those surgical 
methods which the ancients have described and the moderns have adopted, 
like them, for their own uses. For by that method of medicine, so long as 
we followed it, we could never find or perceive anything well founded and 
certain. But we have used our own remedies according to our experience, 
and in this way we have found out the best medicaments in the whole of 
surgery, and have comprised them here in three paragraphs only. 

And although, no doubt, other diseases can be found besides those which 
we have mentioned here, such as bullae, alopecia, etc., they are, nevertheless, 
comprised under spots and scars, and must be cured according to the treat- 
ment prescribed for them, for many causes which are not here brought 
forward, but left to our own experience ; we had not forgotten them. We 
have had hundreds and thousands of these wounds passing through our 
hands, and when we saw them cured so quickly and so effectually by these 
remedies, why should we imitate the tedious and empty processes of the 
ancients, forgetting those nearest to ourselves ? Why, then, we use mundi- 
ficatives, lotions, sutures, ligatures, corrosives, and the like — which are all 
effectual against wounds, and destroy them most thoroughly — we have given 
the cause of all this at sufficient length in our book on wounds. Why do we 
use different plasters, ointments, unguents, and the like, even in the cure of 
ulcers ? Why ligations, anointings, and the like ? Well, to go through all this 
would be tedious since it only leads us to enter on a prolix, intricate, and 
foolish course, where we seek mere accidents without finding anything. It is 
a mere superstition to pin one's faith to antiquity. For in surgery to debate 
as to the nature of fistula, cancer, or ulcer, or the like, and then to assign to 
each its special remedy is mere vain talk and waste of writing, which will not 
repay the outlay in paper ; when all can be thoroughly cured and removed by 
one single remedy — as, for example, external leprosy, alopecia, serpigo, spots, 
and the like, pustules, the itch, and scars, which can all be thoroughly 
removed by one medicament and one method of practice, as can also artetic 
wounds by spears, weapons and bullets. With these few words we would 
close our treatise on surgery and bring it to an end. 

The End of the Ninth Book of the Archidoxies from the Theophrastia 
concerning external wounds and their remedies. 



From a German manuscript codex of great antiquity. 

WE had decided to write our Archidoxies, as also other books concerning 
Medicine, with especial clearness and lucidity, inasmuch as all the 
highest medical arcana cannot be prepared without true chemical en- 
cheiries (undertakings), nor yet can they be speedily exalted in grade, and it 
is notorious that almost the whole world, through its devotion to riches and 
earthly wealth, zealously pursues tinctures only and transmutations of metals 
in order to amass the greatest possible amount of gold and silver, to obtain 
which they stand in the greatest need of chemical preparations, which also 
they would like to find in concise form and easily in our Archidoxies. Not- 
withstanding, it was in consideration of the very great evil which might thence 
arise, and at the same time to oppose their malice, that we have concealed 
our doctrine, according to ancient philosophic method and cabalistic practice. 
I shew this, my doctrine, clearly to the upright and the perfect, yet leave it 
none the less dark to contemptuous and impious men. 

Our writing according to the method of cabalistic philosophy is not due 
only to the lachrymistae who gape after gold, but also to the majority of the 

* The following editorial preface introduces the tenth book of the Archidoxies in the Geneva folio : — Behold, gentle 
reader, the tenth book of the Archidoxies, which has been long demanded by the wishes of all lovers of chemistry, but 
till now has not been included among the works of Paracelsus, because, being in the possession of few, it has been held 
among secret things, as a most precious treasure replete with great arcana. Once, indeed, it was printed in the ver- 
nacular tongue of the author at Mentz, but the envy of certain persons, who gazed with a fierce eye at the revelation of 
the mysteries therein revealed, suppressed the majority of the copies, and compelled very many persons, studious in 
chemistry and in the writings of Theophrastus, to make transcripts for themselves. We, in order to consult the public 
good, have thought proper to add to the nine books previously edited, this tenth book, rendered from German into 
Latin, by one who is skilful in both languages, so that those who are studious in this science may be saved from tran- 
scribing, and the number of the Archidoxies may be complete. The author has denied in several places of this work 
that he would write the said book, lest he cast pearls before swine, .and lest these arcana should gome to the knowledge 
of the unworthy and the impious, but he changed his mind at the persuasion and prayers of his ffiends, who impartially 
weighed the disadvantages of giving their mysteries to the public with the advantages which could be derived to the 
human race by their communication. The latter seemed to preponderate by far ; consequently, they at last obtained this 
concession, that he would entrust the work to certain of his familar acquaintances. It appears from the preface, which 
he prefixed, with how great an oath he bound each and every person who should obtain an exemplar that he should guard 
it with the greatest secrecy as a treasure of Nature and Art, and should have nothing to do with avaricious chemists, or 
with the ambitious and envious followers of Galen. Nor did the author forbid the publication without a reason ; he 
rightly rejoiced in the title of a key, whereby the doors of the preceding books are opened, and the bars removed, so that 


82 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

followers of Galen and of Avicenna. The latter would very gladly avail them- 
selves of our medicaments and arcana to repel chronic diseases, which otherwise, 
using the method of Galen, would be incurable— they would be glad, I say, to 
use them if they were able to find a short, sure, and easy method of preparing 
and administering the same, without renouncing the error of the heathen and 
false Christians, and providing also they could ascribe the honour, fame, and 
riches which they thence would obtain to the writings of Galen only and to 
themselves, out of envy ignoring my name and glorious achievements, but 
claiming the same for their own writings, keeping secret the fact that the 
whole art proceeds from me. For they themselves, being old doctors, do not 
wish to appear as if, at their advanced age, they were reduced to be disciples 
of an unpolished Swiss and younger apostle, and to make public profession of 
this circumstance, seeing that all detest him for subverting their principles. 
On account of this, their laziness, ambition, envy, and hatred, as also ingrati- 
tude, I have taught and philosophised in my Archidoxies, and in my other 
books, in the aforesaid manner, as has pleased me, which I will justify before 
God and my conscience at the last day, in order that those who desire to 
arrive at the fundamental principle of my Archidoxies, may publicly call them- 
selves Theophrastics, acknowledge me as their monarch, follow me in their 
labours, frequent my school, and, vice versa, discard their old fathers. But 
although they may chance to secretly obtain some process from a miserable 
and simple rustic, or from elsewhere, they will not, however, understand the 
arcana of administering my medicaments, and will thence derive more shame 
than honour. Wherefore, although it has been shewn to them by Anicula, 
that the young of swallows, their cranium, and glue of the oak, are a sure 
remedy for the falling sickness, which is the case, yet even by this you will 
not effect a cure. Whence is this, and what is the cause ? It is for this 
reason, namely, that you do not understand the mode of administering them 
and the great Ilech, nor will you learn from Galen unless you shall have fre- 
quented my school and learned philosophy according to Christ and not after 

an entrance for all is left open to the sacred and more secret penetralia of the divine chemical art. It is, however, by no 
means to be thought that anyone who has only slightly occupied himself with the school of Vulcan, who has seen noth- 
ing of importance, save obscurely, in this most noble art, or has tasted of its fruits for the first time, should fancy that 
the things herein contained are for his use, or should deceive himself with a false opinion, persuading himself with 
excessive credulity that they are intended for him. Let him not apply himself to putting in practice the prescribed 
formulas of the recipes, unless he wishes to be wise too late, like the Phrygians. No one, indeed, should suppose that food 
is here set before him which is made all ready for his palate ; he who would obtain the kernel must first crack the nut, and 
then at length he will taste the sweetest fruits of chemistry. Not a raw recruit but a veteran soldier, not one slightly 
tinged but he who is completely permeated with chemical undertakings, not soiled by scholastic dust but by the smoke 
of coals and cinders, not accustomed to arguments which savour more of vain subtlety than of real, but 
acquainted with true and sound philosopby — those, in a word, who are most skilled in chemical practice— let such gird 
themselves to the execution of these matters. But let the profane crowd retire as far as possible. If any one doubt 
that this is the genuine production of the author, the peculiar style and mode of writing affected by Theophrastus should 
remove his difficulty, while the promises made in the preceding books and here fulfilled should place the matter beyond 
question. Nor let anyone be surprised that the author declared he would keep the tenth book locked up in his heart, 
or, to use his own expression, he would retain it in his occiput, whereas the prayers of his friends persuaded him to 
change his mind. Do you, therefore, gentle reader, being assured by this lawful witness of Theophrastus, enjoy the 
labour and work of so great a man, and accept with grateful mind our zeal in acquiring and publishing the treatises of 
our great doctor, — F. B. 

The Archidoxies of Tluophrastus Paracelsus. 83 

Since, therefore, the glue of the oak does not fulfil your expectations, you 
imagine that it is too weak by itself, wherefore you correct it with other herbs, 
and make a great composition of sixty or more ingredients, which you digest 
and purge of dross. You do not, however, expel the disease even by this 
means, since you do not understand either simples or compounds, nor yet the 
method of administering them. 

Had such persons, indeed, accepted my doctrine in a grateful manner, and 
had they cast out of doors the red bonnet, or fool's cap, received from Galen, 
and at the same time submitted themselves to my discipline, I would have put 
on them a better cap, that of Fortunatus himself, wherein is concealed more 
art than in all other writings. So, in the presence of none would they need to 
doff it, but, just as Fortunatus cured the king's daughter, might they cure 
chronic diseases. 

But they are unworthy of better things, and are to be blamed for their 
mischief, since they are completely ignorant of the great secrets or the 
mysteries of the sanctuary of Nature, and as much concerning the celestial 
treasure, which, in these last days of grace, has been freely revealed to me 
from on high, which, indeed, make a true Adam and paradoxic physician, 
according to the days of Enoch, in the intellects of a new generation. But 
these ignorant persons boastfully refuse it. Wherefore, I pity them not, but 
leave them in their own ignorance. 

There is no doubt, that in that very great multitude of men, mentioned in 
the fourth book of Esdras, the Lord God will reserve for Himself a small 
number of certain elect persons, who will desire faithfully to pursue my 
Theophrastic doctrine, to love the truth, and help their neighbours in their 
destitution and diseases, out of a true and unfeigned Christian love, not for 
the sake of filthy lucre or ambition, but for pure love of God ; and also that 
out of Nature's light the marvels of God may manifestly appear. At the 
same time, all are not born under such a constellation as to be able to perceive 
the sense of our books, however diligently they study, without divine aid. It is 
on account, therefore, of their sincere intention and love, and that they may 
understand our excellent writings and arcana of medicines, and may arrive at 
a blessed end ; and also, lest the most precious secret of Nature, divinely 
revealed to me should altogether be buried with me ; that we shall write this 
book, therein shewing in full light the principle of our Archidoxies and universals, 
and shall teach the preparation of singular arcana, the quintessence, prime 
entities, and magisteries. 

But, lest this clear light itself should reach the ungrateful and unworthy, 
I exhort all who have a supply of this book, I bind you by the very great 
sacrament and oath which you have given to God in baptism, that you shall 
hide all these things secretly and as the noblest treasure of Nature, lest you 
admit any unworthy person. Do you rather venerate that treasure as a most 
blessed talent, and help your neighbour in adversity. 

May God grant benediction and favour, that whosoever partakes thereof 
may rightly use it ! G2 


OF Theophrastus. 
Comprised in Ten Separate Chapters. 


Concerning the Separations of the Elements. 

IN all things four elements are comming-led one with the other, but in each 
thing one of these four is perfect and fixed. That is the predestinated 
element in which dwells the quintessence, the virtue, and the quality ; 
but the other elements are imperfect, and each an element only, in which is no 
more virtue than in any other single element. These are all, as it were, the 
abode of the true, fixed, and perfect element ; whence, also, they are called 
qualified things. Now, the fact is that some persons think the body to be a 
true element and quality, and that it in some way displays the virtue of a 
true element. This is because the body, like the three imperfect elements, 
is tinged and qualified, each according to its own nature, by the fixed, perfect, 
and predestinated element, as by its indwelling inhabitant. 

For example, in some bodies the element of water predominates, in others 
that of fire excels, in some earth, and in others, again, air. If, then, the 
predestinated element has to be separated, it is necessary that the house be 
broken up ; and this breaking up or dissolution of the house is brought about 
in divers ways, as is clearly said in my Metamorphosis concerning the death 
of things. If the house is dissolved by strong waters, by calcinations, and the 
like, care must be taken that what is dissolved from that which is fixed must 
be separated by common distillations. For then the body of the quintessence 
passes over like phlegm, but the fixed element remains at the bottom. But 
since we are little concerned about the house or the dwelling, it is necessary 
to find it in a fixed, predestinated element, and thence to extract it after the 
mode of a quintessence, so that that fixed element may be dissolved by other 
stronger artifices than calcinations, sublimations, and so on, and the pure 
separated from the impure. The pure is the quintessence ; but the impure is 
the superfluous tartar, which is mixed up with every generation, concerning 
which see the book on Tartareous Diseases. 

But since my theory is given at length in other books of Archidoxies, of 
Metamorphosis, and the Generations of the Paramirum, I am on that account 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 85 

unwilling to cause any weariness, but will briefly point out the practical method. 
Prepare a metal according to the process in the book on the Death of Things ; 
reduce it to a liquid substance according to the method which we have taught 
in the book on the Separation of the Elements ; separate by continual coho- 
bations and putrefactions the three imperfect elements ; and then the fixed 
element, of whatever kind it may be, remains at the bottom, and in this way 
these four elements are correctly separated. 


Concerning the Quintessence. 

Abstract the volatile portion, which passes over in the separation of the 
elements, several times from that which is fixed, so that the quintessence, 
which partly was raised with the phlegm, may be again conjoined. Take the 
fixed element that remained after the separation of the three imperfect elements, 
of whatsoever sort it may be, then dissolve it in its proper water, each accord- 
to its nature, as we have said in the Archidoxies concerning the Quintessence. 
Keep it in the highest state of putrefaction, distil it by cohobation, and the 
rest by descent. Putrefy still a little, distil, and join all. Then distil it in a 
Balneum Maries, even to oiliness. Then break it up with the subtle spirit of 
wine by boiling ; the impure will sink to the bottom and the pure will float on 
the surface. Separate this by means of a tritorium, and, in order that it may 
at the same time lose the nature of the aqua fortis, pour on a greater quantity 
of the spirit of wine, which frequently abstract until the quintessence turns out 
sweet. Lastly, wash it in common cold water. In the same way, it must be 
understood of marchasites, stones, resins, herbs, flesh, watery and fixed sub- 
stances, that first of all, according to the teaching of the book on Separations, 
the three imperfect elements shall be separated ; and that afterwards measures 
shall be taken with the fixed element according to the instruction given in the 
book on the Quintessence. 

By eating or corroding water, understand acetum mixed with spirit of 
wine, and that which being frequently abstracted from the spirit of salt nitre 
becomes acetum. In this the fixed elements of marchasites should be dissolved, 
purified, and elevated by means of an alembic ; then, lastly, corrupted by spirit 
of wine, so that the impure may sink to the bottom, and separate itself from 
the pure. 

With regard to the essence of gems, by radicated acetum, understand that 
you have a sharp acetum corrected with bricks, a sufficient number of times 
from the tartarised matrix of acetum. Dissolve therein the gems, which have 
been first calcined by sulphur, putrefy, and then separate the pure from the 
impure by breaking them up with the spirit of wine. 

From fruits, herbs, and roots the essence is easily perfected, so that you 
dissolve the imperfect elements by the highest secret putrefaction of extreme 
heat. Then putrefy in dung, drive out by descent all that can go out, and 

86 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

from thence abstract the injurious imperfect body of the moisture by distillation 
in a bath. Thereupon there will remain at the bottom the predestinated element. 
Separate this from the impure residuum by corruption with its proper spirit, 
or with spirit of wine. Abstract this, and you will have the pure quint- 

The extraction of the quintessence from salts (for example, vitriol, com- 
mon salt, salt nitre, antimony, etc.) is accomplished in this way : cohobate 
them frequently with their own proper liquid, or with water, putrefy with 
phlegm, and abstract the body from thence after the manner of phlegm, even 
to the fixed spirit. This dissolve in water, or its own proper liquid, and sep- 
arate in heat with spirit of wine, the pure from the impure. 


Concerning Magisteries. 
Magisteries are deservedly to be called mysteries, on account of the great 
tinctures which they display in an appropriate body, such as acetum or wine ; 
and as we mention elsewhere, so here also we teach that the one thing to be 
considered is with reference to the agreements which are adapted to the 
extraction of magisteries. For if you take distilled acetum you must not 
tinge water but wine into acetum if, indeed, the tincture or the acetum was 
made from wine. If you have well and rightly understood the magistery of 
acetum, you will also sufficiently understand the book of Magisteries. In the 
magistery of acetum it is to be understood that from corrupted wine, by a fer- 
mentation which is naturally adapted to it — for example, by tartar — you make, 
first of all, the tincture, that is, the acetuin. Then with a small quantity of this 
same acetum, you shall thoroughly tinge a large body of wine, previously cor- 
rupted and putrefied, in a short time, into the best acetum. If, therefore, you 
purpose to convert metals into a magistery, and altogether to tinge the whole 
body into an essence, you must take a principal and an open metal to which all 
the others in Nature are cognate. That you must corrupt in its own matrix 
which has been placed in water, and is called the Mother of all Metals, purge 
it from its superfluous elements and reduce it to its primal liquid entity, that 
is, the sharpest metallic acetum. As often as all the metals are digested 
therein, they are of necessity transmuted by it into acetum, that is to say, into 
a quintessence. But as wine must be already in some way previously 
corrupted, if, indeed, good acetum is to be quickly prepared from it, so, in like 
manner, metallic bodies, too, must be previously corrupted, or putrefied and 
mortified, as is said in the Metamorphosis concerning the Death of Things ; 
and then they are truly called potable. 

In this manner, also, the magisteries of marchasites are to be prepared, 
in which almost more virtue is found than in metals, just as the other 
magisteries are prepared ; and by our dissolving water is to be understood the 
water of salt. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 87 

But the magistery from gems is that you first of all calcine them with 
sulphur for four hours, then reverberate them, and afterwards burn them with 
nitre. Then boil them with simple water eight hours, filter, coagulate, and 
extract them with spirit of wine. 

The magistery from gums and resins, for example, from turpentine and 
amber, is made after the following manner : First boil in spirit of wine, then 
corrupt in fresh spirit of wine mixed with a dissolving water, of salt, for 
instance, then distil from it. 

The magistery of herbs, in like manner, as also of all spices and fruits, 
is thus accomplished. First of all, let them be fermented like must. Then 
extract the spirit, as from the dregs of wine. In that spirit digest the 
putrefied herb, frequently renewing it with fresh herbs until the spirit shall 
have become quadrupled in quantity. But since frequent mention is made in 
our Archidoxies of First Entities, and since the chief foundation is hidden in 
them, we will here briefly add the preparation of our water of circulated salt, 
which is here required, but was omitted. 

The Preparation of Circulated Salt. 

In our other books we have sufficiently shewn and made clear that the 
true element is water, or the sea, as if the true mother of all metals, and from 
its primal essence it received the sperm of the three principles, of which none 
before me has made any mention, only they built up their principles from 
sulphur and mercury, neglecting all mention of the third principle, that is to 
say, of salt which lies in the sea. But, having been taught by experience, I 
have in my other books touched upon the fact that the first entity or quint- 
essence of the element of water is the centre of metals and minerals; and I 
have elsewhere added that every fruit must die in that wherein is its life, so 
that it may afterwards acquire a new and better life, and thus by laying aside 
the old body be brought back to the first entity. Wherefore we will add here 
the extraction of the centre of the water, in which metals ought to lose 
their body. 

Take first the true element of water, or, in place of it, some other salt 
not yet boiled to dryness, or even purified salt of a gem. Pour two parts of 
water mixed with a little radish juice ; putrefy in an accurate digestion, the 
longer the better. Afterwards let it congeal ; putrefy again for a month, and 
then distil by a retort. Urge the residuum with a strong fire, so that it may 
melt. Reverberate it in a retort over a continuous fire. Dissolve it on 
marble. Pour upon it the water that flows from it, and putrefy it again. 
Distil it once more even to oiliness ; mix it with spirit of wine, and the 
impure will fall to the bottom, which separate, but the pure will be crystallised 
in the cold. Pour the distilled matter on it again, and cohobate until a fixed 
oil remains in the bottom, and nothing sweet afterwards passes over. Digest 
for a month ; and then distil until the arcanum of the salt passes over through 
the alembic. Do not grudge this protracted labour, for this is the third part 

88 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

of all the arcana which are hidden in metals and minerals, and without it 
nothing fruitful, nothing perfect, can be brought about. 

But although there are several ways for extracting the first entity of 
salt, this is the most useful and expeditious ; and after this is that other 
way which we have mentioned as the elixir of salt, namely, that fresh salt 
being mixed with dissolving water, which is the distilled spirit of salt, 
should be putrefied and distilled until the whole substance of the salt shall be 
dissolved and reduced to a perpetual oiliness, the body being removed thence 
as phlegm. In this way it is taught that the arcanum or magistery of vitriol 
and tartar, and of all other salts, is to be prepared. 


Concerning First Entities ; and primarily concerning the Extraction 
OF the Quintessence or First Entity of Common Mercury. 
If the common mercury is to be reduced into its first liquid entity, then it 
must be previously mortified and brought out from its own proper form. That 
is done by various sublimations with vitriol and common salt, so that at last 
it becomes like fixed crystal. Then dissolve it in its own matrix, that is to 
say, in the first entity of salt. Putrefy for a month ; corrupt with fresh 
arcanum of salt, that the impure part of it may be precipitated to the bottom, 
but the pure turned into crystals. Sublimate the stones in a closed reverbera- 
tory ; when it is sublimated, always invert it until it grows to redness. Extract 
this sublimate with spirit of wine rectified to the highest point. Separate the 
spirit of wine, dissolve what remains upon marble, and digest it for a month. 
Pour on fresh spirit of wine, digest for a time, and distil it. Then the arcanum 
of the first entity of mercury will pass over in a liquid substance, which is 
called by the philosophers a very sharp metallic acetum ; and in our Archi- 
doxies the Greater Circulatum. And the same is to be understood concerning 
antimony, gems, and herbs. 


Concerning Arcana. 

What we say concerning arcana is to be thus received : that they are 
nothing else than a graduated quintessence or first entity. And under the 
first arcanum of the primal matter, we wish to be understood the first material 
or first essence of the limbus of man. Also we understand the first matter of 
the mercury of salt, for that is most closely conformed. Wherefore, according 
to the process of the first entity, you will reduce all to a liquid substance, then 
join it again with a monarchy, as if with the living unreduced body of that 
thing, and so promote it for distillation. 

What we think concerning the arcanum of the Stone shall be made clear 
in the succeeding practice. But by the arcanum of the Mcrctirtus Vita we in- 

The Archidoxies of Theophrasttis Paracelsus. 89 

tend a living fire, so that the mercury of common life shall be essentialised with 
the quintessence of salt and be vitalised with the first ens of antimony, as if 
by a celestial life. But the arcanum of the tincture unfolds itself, wherefore 
we omit it here. 


Concerning the Arcanum of the Stone, or of the Heaven of 

THE Metals. 

What we have in one place and another theoretically advanced con- 
cerning the arcanum of the stone we here pass over ; and I say that this 
arcanum must not be sought in rust, which many have wrongly named 
"flowers," but in the mercury of antimony. And this mercury of antimony, 
when it is brought to its perfection, is none other than the heaven of the metals, 
because its virtue is always vital, and nothing else than a perfect, pure quint- 
essence. Therefore, even in the Deluge no virtue or efficacy was taken away 
from it ; for the heaven, as though it were life itself, can be destroyed by no 
lesser thing. Its preparation I briefly subjoin here : — 

Take antimony, purge it from dross and realgar, in an iron vessel, 
until the coagulated mercury of the antimony appears white and beautiful. 
And although it is an element of mercury, and has in itself a true, hidden life, 
yet all these things are potentially but not actively present. 

If, however, you wish to bring it down to activity, it is necessary that you 
excite that life with what is like itself, such as living fire or metallic acetum, 
with which fire many philosophers have proceeded in diff"erent ways. Since, 
however, they agreed fundamentally, they all arrived at the destined end. 
One, with much toil, extracted a quintessence out of the coagulated mercury, . 
and led down the mercury of the antimony therewith into activity. Others 
have discerned that a uniform essence exists in diiferent mineral substances, 
as, for example, in fixed sulphur of vitriol, in magnetic stone, and thence 
extracted the same quintessence, and with that same have ripened their 
mercury or heaven, or have brought it into activity. And since they extracted 
their quintessence from a stony material, on that account they called that 
magistery a stone ; and, indeed, their opinion is right. Nevertheless, that fire, 
or corporal life, is found much more perfectly and sublimely in common 
mercury, which is testified plainly by its flowing, namely, that there is hidden 
in it a consummate fire and a celestial life. Whoever, therefore, desires to 
bring his metallic heaven to the highest grade, and to lead it to activity, ought 
first of all to extract out of the corporal life (the common mercury) the first 
liquid entity (as if celestial fire), the quintessence of the sun and a very sharp 
metallic acetum, by solution with its mother, that is, to mix it with the 
arcanum of salt, and with the stomach of Anthion, that is, with the spirit of 
vitriol, and he should dissolve therein the coagulated mercury of antimony, 
should digest it, and, lastly, reduce it to crystals, that it may be like a 
yellowish crystal, concerning which we have made mention in our manual. 

go The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


Concerning the Arcanum of the Mercurius Vxtm. 

Just as out of herbs, as the vine, a temperate essence is extracted, by 
which from every kind of herb or root their own essence may be drawn, even 
so that the mercury of wine does not shew its own peculiar nature, but the 
nature of that with which it is essentialised, in the same way is it with metals 
and minerals, for a like mercurius or spirit is extracted from the open and 
middle metal (mercurius), if the essence be extracted out of the perfect metals 
with that same spirit. Then, afterwards, that essentialised mercury is joined 
to the celestial balsam of the quintessence in a closed reverberatory, by means 
whereof it acquires life, and is on that account called the Mercurius Vitce. 
The virtues whereof seem to us admirable, and must be kept silent and occult 
by us, lest they should be despised. 


Concerning the Great Composition, being the chief of our 
secrets in medicine. 

In our Paramirical writings it is made sufficiently clear, that is to say, 
so far as it is necessary for a philosopher or a physician, if it be necessary that 
the whole human body, not only in its corporeal and earthly mass, but in its 
celestial balsamic part, should be preserved from and healed of all heavenly 
and earthly diseases — it is made clear, we say, that in the work of healing 
such a composition should be made as does not consist of a number of 
ingredients. For example, if any one should think that by pouring together 
water and wine a real mixture ensues, this is false, because one part can be 
separated from the other without injury to either, which is not the case in 
our great composition. For here is made a uniform and concordant mixture, 
so that two things, distinct in nature and properties, are united, and neither 
can be separated from the other without injury on account of their remark- 
able agreement, as occurs also in the male and female semen. If, therefore, 
such a composition is to be prepared conformable in its condition to man 
through the due proportion of heavenly and earthly things, it is fitting to 
consider the name of the microcosm and that man is a little world. Where- 
fore if he is to be cured universally of all diseases, that must necessarily be 
done by his like. Concerning which Hermes Trismegistus said that it was 
necessary for him who intends to make this composition to create a new 
world ; and as God created the heaven and the earth, so also the physician 
must form, separate, and prepare a medicinal world. And in order that he 
might point out to his disciples with sufficient fidelity from what thing or 
material this composition should be made, and how, also, the concordances of 
heavenly virtues are discovered by us in the Valley of the Shadows, he wisely 
and truly adds, a little after, that what is beneath is as that which is above, 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 91 

and that the inferior and the superior stand related to one another as man and 
wife ; and for the better understanding hereof he teaches that the heaven of 
itself agrees with the element of water, because it had its first spermatic 
matter in the water, and that the element of earth, coagulated and changed 
from its spirituality into corporeality and earthiness, is like the planets and 
the other stars, which also obtained their spermatic matter by their origin in 
heaven, and thence by separation passed over or were changed from a 
heavenly pellucid nature into a dense coagulated body. 

In the primal creation, things above and things below, the upper and 
lower heaven, or water, the upper coagulated nature, or stars, and the lower 
terrestrial nature, were all mixed together and made one thing. But God 
separated the subtle from the dense, so that out of one water two were 
produced. The upper water was subtle, and to be considered as of the 
masculine sex, compared with the lower, denser, feminine water. But as God 
divided and separated still further the upper water, so that the subtle, airy 
part should be appointed for the stars, that thus the celestial bodies or stars 
may stand related to heaven as sons to a father, so, by parity of reasoning, 
has God appointed, together with this which is above, a separation also in the 
denser bodies, that is to say, in the female waters in the Valley of Shadows, and 
divided them into two parts. The seventh, clearer part He called water, and 
the other six dried parts, or coagulated portion. He called earth, which com- 
prises in itself all the special fruits and planets which had their prime origin in 
water as their heaven ; as metals, minerals, and gems, which, in respect of 
the water, are reckoned as daughters in respect of a mother. So the superior 
heaven has a nature and properties like its own in its feminine nature, that is 
to say, in the inferior heaven or water ; and the superior terrestrial bodies, or 
stars, like the sons of a father-^that is, heaven — have a similar agreement 
with and relation to their sisters, the earthly bodies. And just as by close 
relationship the higher heavenly bodies or stars are joined to their father, the 
heaven, so too, by a like and equal relationship, the lower earthly minerals 
and metals are connected with their heaven, the water, as with a mother. 
Whence the truth of the sentiment of Hermes is evident, which we commend 
to our sons of the doctrine in these words : that indeed the whole microcosm, 
so far as relates to the comprehensible mass, and to the living, moving, cor- 
poreal, generating spirit, ought to be collected and composed of these lower 
elements and dark waters which are their noblest essences. But as to the 
mental arcana, wherein consists the sound mind in a sound body, these should 
be attracted from the superior, heavenly waters, and their astral influences 
spiritually, in a mental manner, through the mind of the image of the Gam- 
ahela ; or, if these are not pleasing to us, they should be declined, as in our 
books on A Long Life we point out these things at length and with clearness. 
Since, both in other places and especially in the Paramira, we have included 
the theory of this grand composition, we pause at these words and add the 
practical method, namely, how the inferior world or heaven should be united 

92 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

and conjoined with its earth, or the sun with its heaven. But because we 
have premised already the preparation of the heaven and have taught it under 
the arcanum of the stone, we omit it here. And since of itself alone, like the 
male semen, it can bring no advantage in the body of man, but only restores 
the celestial parts, that is to say, the radical moisture, or balsam of life, 
therefore it ought to be joined to its terrestrial corporeal mass, and be brought 
into concord therewith, that so also the carnal element in man may be 
refreshed and restored, and not only one member, but the whole body, be 
restored to soundness. Therefore let a corporeal mass be taken, which in 
nature is equal to the sun above, and embraces in itself the properties of all 
the stars, since it is impossible for all the subterranean stars and the coagulated 
bodies to be included together in the number of the »ingredients. This 
coagulated essence of heaven, that is, the sun, in its essence and temperate 
element, is so elevated and graduated that it also fixes with itself its own 
habitation, that is, the superfluous elements, that it cannot be destroyed by 
any element, and the inhabitant or corporal balsam hidden in it is able to 
remain eternal. If, therefore, as was before said, the whole microcosm is to 
be healed, then the corporeal coagulated balsam should be united with the 
spiritual celestial balsam and the discord between the elements of the sun 
should be reconciled, so that the superfluous elements may be separated from 
the fixed predestinated element and altogether die out and leave the fixed 
element, as their inhabitant, alone. If this dead body of the sun be after- 
wards cleansed from superfluities and brought into a volatile spiritual nature, 
then is perfected the true, sublimated, and resolved mercury of the sun, not 
that horizontal which many try to prepare with common mercury and sal 


Concerning the Corporal Balsam or Mercury of the Sun. 

In order that you may excite discord among the elements of the sun, or 
the habitation of gold, you must draw out Sol in a strong solution, by means 
of the phlegmatic fire, or quintessence of tartar, into its proper heat. By this 
method the element of air in Sol is very greatly increased, and by the air 
approaching the fixed element of the sun, as being its proper fire, it is so 
graduated that it can conquer and destroy the habitation of the other three. 
Putrefy this destruction with the quintessence of tartar and with struthio. 
Convert it by a proper sublimation into the matter of mercury ; and then the 
fixed mercurial element of Sol will remain alone without any habitation. But 
since this is still mixed with its superfluous tartar, therefore this must be re- 
moved from it. Dissolve it, then, in the circulated water of salt, corrupt it, 
and the tartar will be precipitated. Sublime the pure in a closed reverbatory of 
Athanor, dissolve it upon marble, and putrefy it. Thus is the mercury sublim- 
ated, graduated, and dissolved into the first matter of Sol, and is prepared in 
the highest degree. 

The Archidoxies of Theophrastus Paracelsus. 93 


Concerning the Composition of the Spiritual Balsam, and of the 
Balsam of the Coagulated Body. 

As is remarked in the Manual, this composition is made in the philosophers' 
egg. And so we put an end to this great work, in the name of God, to His 
praise and glory. 

Here end the Ten Books of the Archidoxies. 



READER. God, indeed, permitted the true spirit of Medicine to be 
brought into operation by Machaon, Podalirius, Hippocrates, and 
others, so that the true medicine, which shines forth from the clouds 
(where it cannot be fully and plainly known), should come forth into the light 
of day, and be manifested to mankind. By that same operation, too. He 
placed His prohibition on the spirit of darkness, so that it should not altogether 
overwhelm and extinguish the light of Nature, and that the mighty gifts of 
God, which lie concealed in Arcana, Quintessences, Magisteries, and Elixirs, 
should not be altogether unknown. God, therefore, has ordained certain 
means whereby, moreover, through the ministration of good spirits, research 
into such arcana and mysteries should be implanted in man, just as certain 
men have received angelic natures from that heaven which is familiarly 
acquainted with the angels. Such men have been able afterwards, as being 
endowed with a perfect intelligence of Nature, to search into Nature and her 
daily course more profoundly than other people, to compare the pure with the 
impure, to separate one from the other, and to adapt and modify what is pure 
in a manner that seems impossible to others. These, as being true and natural 
physicians, know how to supplement Nature, and by their arts to biing her to 
perfection. It must be, therefore, that all imperfect and diabolical operations 
give way before them, as a lie always gives way to what is true and perfect. 
We must, I assert, speak the plain truth if we would arrive at any happy 
result. And if it be lawful to grasp the truth by any means, no man ought to 
be ashamed to seek it in any quarter. 

Let none, then, take it in bad part of me, that I myself have loved this 
truth and pursued it. I was forced to seek it, for it did not seek me. If a man 
wants to see a foreign city it is no good for him to stay at home with his head 
on his pillow. He must not roast pears at the fire, for in that way he will 
never become a doctor. No one will ever get to be a renowned cosmographer 
by sitting at table. No chiromancist ever became so in his chamber, or 
geomancist in his cell. So neither can we arrive at the true medicine 
save by investigation. God makes the true physician, but not without 

Manual concerning the Philosophers Stone. 95 

pains on man's own part. He says : " Thou shalt eat the labour of thy hands, 
and it shall be well with thee." Since, therefore, seeing goes before truth, 
and the things which are perceived by sight gladden or terrify the heart, I shall 
not esteem it toilsome, or deem it beneath my dignity, to travel about and join 
myself to such men as fools despise, in order that I may discover what lies hid 
in the limbo of earth, and that I may fulfil the duty of a true physician, by 
exhibiting Medicine according to the ordinance of God and for my neighbour's 
good ; and that it may not do more harm than good. An easy-going man will 
not take this trouble. Let him who will, then, sit in his cushioned chair. I 
like to travel about, to see and examine whatever God and the opportunity 
allow. For the sake of sincere readers, however, who desire to learn, and love 
the light of Nature, I have written the present treatise in order that they may 
know the foundation of my true medicine, pass by the absurdities of pseudo- 
physicians, and be able, in some degree, at least, take my part against them. 
For those distinguished fellows, of course, know all these things beforehand, 
and the asinine doctor has them all in his wallet, only he is never able to get 
at them. For a man must be a good alchemist who wants to understand 
this treatise, one who is not afraid of the coals, and whom daily smoke does 
not disgust.* Let those who will take pleasure in these matters, I force myself 
upon nobody. This alone, I say, the thing will not prove infructuous, however 
much my enemies, the sham doctors, blame and accuse me. 

* I praise alchemy, which compounds secret medicines, whereby all hopeless maladies are cured. They who are 
ignorant of this deserve neither to be called chemists nor physicians. For these remedies lie either in the power of the 
alchemists or in that of the physicians. It they reside with the latter, the former are ignorant of them. If with the 
former, the latter have not learnt them. How, therefore, shall those men deserve any praise ? I, for my part, have 
rather judged that such a man shall be highly extolled who is able to bring Nature to such a point that she will lend 
help, that is, who shall know how after the extraction of the health-giving parts what is useless is to be rejected ; who 
is also acquainted with the efficacy, for he must see that it is impossible that the preparation and the science— in other 
words, the chemia and the medicine — can be separated from one another, because should anyone attempt to separate 
them he will introduce more obscurities into medicine, and the result will be absolute folly. By this distinction all the 
fundamental principles of medicine will be overthrown. I do not think I need labour very hard in order that you may 
recognise the certainty of my reasons. I give you this one piece of advice : Have regard to the effect of quack 
remedies. They first destroy wounds which are already aggravated by a succession of processes, miserably torture the 
patients, and having after all accomplished no good, but removed all chance of recovery, they do the unfortunate to 
death. ... I who am an iatro-chemist, that is, one who knows both chemistry and medicine, am in virtue hereof 
in a position to point out errors and to profitably reject all pestiferous remedies, relegating them to their own place. 
My ardent desires and ready will to be of use prompt me to this. - Chirurgia Magua^ Pars. I., Tract I., c. 13. 


IN order that the Philosophers' Stone, which, for sufficient reasons, we call 
a perpetual or perfect balsam, may be made by means of Vulcan, 
it must first of all be known and considered in what way that Stone may 
be placed materially before our eyes, and become visible and cognisable by the 
other senses ; and, in like manner, how its fire may be made to come forth and 
to be recognised. In order, then, that this may be the more clearly set before 
us, we will take the illustration of common fire, that is to say, we will inquire 
in what manner its force shews itself and becomes visible ; and this is as 
follows : — First of all, by means of Vulcan, the fire is smitten out of the 
flint. Now this fire can effect nothing unless it meets with some substance 
that is congenial to it, and on which it is capable of acting, such as wood, 
resins, oil, or some other like substance, which, by its nature, readily burns. 
When, therefore, the fire meets with some such object it goes on forthwith to 
operate, unless it be extinguished or hindered by something of a contrary 
nature to itself, or unless the material wherein it should multiply itself be 
deficient. For if wood or some similar substance be applied, its violence 
becomes stronger, and operates in the same way until no more fuel is applied. 
Now, then, as the fire shews its effects in the wood, so is the same thing pro- 
duced with the Philosophers' Stone, or the Perpetual Balsam acting on the 
human body. If that Stone be made out of proper material and on a philo- 
sophical principle by a careful physician, and due consideration be given to all 
the surroundings of the man when it is exhibited to him, then it renovates and 
restores the vital organs just as though logs were put on a fire, which revive 
the almost extinguished heat and are the cause of a brilliant and clear flame. 

Hence it is clear that much depends on the material of this balsam, since 
it ought to have a special adaptation to the body of the man, and should so 
exercise its virtue that the human body should be safe from all the accidents 
which might occur to it from such matter. 

Wherefore, not only much depends on the preparation of the Stone or 
Balsam, but it is of much greater importance, that before all things, the true 
matter adapted for it should be known, and then that it should be properly 
prepared, and above all that it should be soberly and prudently used ; so that 

Manual concerning the Philosophers Stone. 97 

such a medicine should have power to purge away all impurities of the blood 
and induce soundness in place of disease. 

On that account, it becomes the true and honest physician to have good 
knowledge, and not to regard ambition and pomp, nor to order dubious or 
contrary things, nor to trust too much to the apothecary, but to make himself 
well acquainted with the disease and with the sufferer ; otherwise you will be 
constantly treated wrongly, and the only result will be that the sick man 
is deceived and defrauded, solely by the pride and ignorance of the unfit and 
unqualified practitioner. For what else is it but a deliberate fraud, when a 
man asks money and fees for that about which he knows nothing, and tries 
to lord it, to his own infamy ; since many men think nothing of money if they 
can only get good advice. If this is not given, and they lose both their bodily 
health and their money, still it is considered quite laudable to demand a fee. 
Let him who will trust them. I, for my part, would provide marks for such a 
doctor in quite a different way. It is quite evident that of such doctors, who 
in their own conceit are most highly learned, there is not a tenth part who 
possess an adequate knowledge of simples ; much less of what they order to 
be done, or how the medicine is compounded by the apothecary. Hence it 
often happens that such a doctor orders some kind of simple to be taken, 
which he himself does not know, and the apothecary knows still less, and has 
not got in his store. Yet this medicine is called perfect, and is swallowed as 
such by the sick man, often at a high price. The result the sick man soon 
feels. Although it furthers his recovery in no way, still it is profitable to the 
doctor and the apothecary for filling their purses. If the doctor or the 
apothecary suffered from the same disease, they would not take the same 
remedy. Hence it can be well understood how nefarious their conduct is, and 
how highly necessary is it that they should approach the subject in a diflferent 
way, should amend their errors, and follow a better course of practice. Still 
I fear that old dogs are very difficult to tame. 

But to return to my subject, from which zeal for the suffering and solitary 
patients has led me astray. In order to do it justice I would say that I do not 
purpose to romance or to boast about this Philosophers' Stone, but the nature 
of the case requires that it should be made of the proper material, and that it 
should be prepared and used with due caution. You must know that many of 
the ancients in their parabolic writings have sufficiently indicated this material, 
and described the operation in figurative words, but did not altogether disclose 
it, so that unqualified persons should abuse it ; and yet they took care that 
it should not be concealed from their own disciples.* When, however, few 

• The congeries of chemical philosophy, which has been the subject of frequent reference and citation in the first 
volume, contains excerpts from the Munnai Concerning the Medicinal Stone of the f'hiiosophers, which offer in some 
cases considerable variations from the above text. The most important passage is as follows :— Very many of the 
ancients have with sufficient clearness revealed this matter and its preparation for the ingenious, but still in parabolic 
and enigmatical words and figures, so that they might drive away the unworthy from so great a mystery at once of 
Nature and of art. A very few, nevertheless, even of those who are fit for this art, have sought the perpetual balsam of 
Nature and the perfect Stone, on account of the vast labour and intricate difficulty which meet the investigator at every 
step. Hence it is that sluggish and slothful dispositions stand aloof from this work. The avaricious, whom the greed 


98 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

persons followed their meaning, or properly undertook the operation, in course 
of time their instructions were forgotten, and in their place the nostrums of 
Galen were introduced. As was the foundation of these nostrums, such was 
the superstructure, and matters daily became worse. This you see, for mstance, 
in their herbaries, how they fuss over these, and how the Germans mix up 
Italy in the matter, when it is quite certain that Germany does not lack those 
imported herbs, but possesses in itself a full supply of perfect medicine. In 
order, then, that truth may not give place to a lie, and that the obscurities of 
Galen, with his accomplices, may not quench and suppress the light of Nature 
in medicine, it is necessary that I, Theophrastus, in this book, should speak, 
not as a quack, but as a scientist who is not ashamed of his achievements in 
medicine, who also, by the grace of God assisting him, has had proof of this 
matter in many cases which you, O Galenist, would not have dared to visit ! Tell 
me. Galenic doctor, whence comes your qualification ? Are you not putting the 
the bridle on the tail of the horse ? Have you ever cured the gout ? Have 
you dared to attack leprosy ? Have you cured dropsy? I believe you will 
wisely hold your tongue, and acknowledge that Theophrastus is your master. 
If, however, you want to learn, learn and note what I here write and say, 
namely, that the human body does not need your clumsy herbal, especially in 
chronic or long-standing diseases which you in your ignorance call incurable. 
Your herbs are too weak for these cases, and by their very nature are impotent 
to get at the centre of the disease. 

You will effect nothing by your pills beyond merely purging the excrements. 
And even here, on account of their unsuitability, you often expel the good with 
the bad, and this cannot be done without severe damage to the patient. So, 
then, these pills must be left off. Furthermore, your draughts do nothing 
beyond causing nausea in those who swallow them by their foul taste, which 
irritates the sick person, and by and bye they cause gripings and danger 

for gold and silver — vile things that they are— has inspired with courage, have persevered most diligently of all in the 
work, so much so that for it they have neglected their life and substance. But because so much worldly happiness was 
not intended for them by God, they have wasted their oil and their labour. There is in truth need of the keenest zeal 
and judgment for this matter, that from various comparisons and similitudes the meaning of authors who write about 
this art may be detected. In order, therefore, that the more intelligent may cou.prehend up to a certain point, we will 
bring forward a fitting similitude by which is prefigured the matter of the perpetual balsam, agreeing with a like 
balsam in the human body for the purpose of restoring and conserving its highest state of health and driving away 
disease. Take common natural fire for an example. This is invisible to us, wherefore it must be sought in the air 
where it is latent, and is to be found by the striking together a flint and steel. Now it does not owe its existence to 
these, but to the air, and is only retained by some dry object such as firewood. For the dryness immediately takes 
hold of its heat and that which is like itself, and both operate in the same way in the subject until all the humidity is 
consumed, and there remains only a dry and ashen body subject to death, being deprived of the fire and food of life. 
In no other way should philosophers investigate matter wherein the food and fire of life are chiefly present. These 
should be drawn out by preparations so that they may increase the vitality of human life when it has begun to fail. 
For as the flame and life of the fire revive the wood all but consumed if there be left only a few bits of coal or sparks 
of fire, by adding appropriate wood and fuel, so in the human body the perpetual balsam, applied even to the smallest 
remaining atom of life, rouses this into a flame and into its pristine vigour. But a question arises as to the matter in 
which this rousing fire remains latent. It is not right, or even safe, to speak clearly and openly about this to every- 
body. Is not the grace of God sufficient for the children of light, whereby the faculty is given to them of bringing light 
out of the darkness of shadows, figures, and enigmas? The sons of darkness are proved in this way, since for them, 
even from the light itself, nothing can be elicited save the merest shadows. Nature requires a nature like itself, and 
takes pleasure in it. As iron, too, is attracted by the magnet, .so darkness begets darkness, and light brings forth 
light. This Stone is hard— who will be able to extract the kernel from it ? What is harder than the stone and steel, 
except it be the diamond ? Yet this is worn away. But by what artifice the Philosophers' Stone is to be disclosed, so 

Manual concerning the Philosophers' Stone. 99 

through their unnatural action. But I quit the subject of your absurd and 
useless medicaments, since they are in direct opposition to Nature, and never 
ought to be used. Since, then, those of which I speak are the true medicines 
(and no such true medicine can be found in Galen, in Rhasis, or in Mesne, 
which attacks and purges those diseases I named from the very roots, as the 
fire purifies the spotted skin of the salamander), it necessarily follows that the 
curative process of Theophrastus differs altogether from the fancies of Galen, 
since it emanates from the fountain of Nature. Were it not so, Theophrastus 
would stand disgraced like the others. 

If, then, we are willing to follow Nature, and to use natural medicine, let 
us see what substances amongst those used in medical art are most adapted 
to the human body for keeping it in soundness up to the limit of predestined 
death by means of their virtue and efficacy. If thought be given to the subject, 
I doubt not but all must confess that metallic substances have the chief adap- 
tation to the human body, and that the perfect metals, in proportion to their 
degree of perfection, and especially the radical humour of those metals, can 
produce the greatest effects on the human body. For man partakes of that salt, 
sulphur, and mercury which, though hidden, enter for the most part into the 
composition of metals and metallic substances. Thus, like is applied to like, 
and this process is most serviceable to Nature if only it be dexterously applied. 
This is the great secret in medicine, worthy to be called its very arcanum, 
What marvel is it, then, if great, unheard of, and unhoped-for cures follow, 
such as the ignorant believed impossible ? Not to delay longer, I am con- 
strained here to set down what I determined to write in this treatise. I 
purpose to treat here more clearly than elsewhere of true medicine. First, 
however, it had to be pointed out how man derived his origin from sulphur, 
mercury, and salt, regarded as metals. This I have sufficiently indicated in 
the Paramirum, and it is not necessary to repeat it here.* I will, therefore, 

that henceforth we have fire and life enough, we do not see. The eyes of the mind must be opened, and the first con- 
sideration must be what medicine is by Nature and art congruous with human life before all others, so that it may be 
conserved and preserved in health to its predestined end, and also may be safe against all corruptions. Nobody — at 
least, no true physician— will doubt that the metallic essences, especially those of the perfect bodies, are the most 
durable and least corruptible of all that Nature produces. If, then, life be the fire and heat of the natural form united 
to the humidity of its own matter by light, as is clear from Genesis, and the light lives more brightly nowhere than in 
bodies least liable to corruption, what will prevent the heat of the fire and the radical humour in the metals, each being 
incorrupt, from rousing in the organs joined to human life this vitality that is well-nigh dormant ? For these are 
sleeping in metallic bodies alone, and in a state of repose, as a man overcome with sleep lies as if dead, and is only 
moved by respiration, but not in his body. As the spirit of metals, if it be liberated from its bodily sleep, will perform 
movements and actions as if its own in any body that is applied to it, none otherwise must we judge of human bodies. 
While these are sick the vital spirits in them sleep ; they are not able to breathe truly or freely on account of their 
corrupt domicile. But when the corruptions of darkness are removed from the body, not by an extraneous physician, 
but by Nature itself, fortified by medical aid, and with an accession of extraneous life, that is to say, of incorruptible 
metals, the vital spirits in men exercise their movements freely. It is no wonder, then, if miraculous cures are wrought 
by Spagyric physicians, otherwise impossible by the vulgar medicine of the Greeks, whence it came about that they 
considered those diseases incurable which they themselves were unable to drive away with their sleepy and, as it were, 
dead medicaments. Hence the distinction between the Spagyric and the Greek medicine is clearly seen. The latter 
sleeps with the sleepers ; the former, watchful and free from all slumber, rouses the dormant faculties of life. But 
returning to our investigation of the matter, this cannot be noted better than from the errors of those who inquire into 
this branch of the subject. 

•On the Origin of Diseases from the Three Primary Substancf.s.— There are three substances 
which confer its own special body on everything, that is to say, every body consists of three ingredieiits. The 
names of these are Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt. When three are compounded, then they are called a body ; 


loo The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

only shew how the Philosophers' Stone may be recognised, and according to 
what method it is prepared. 

Know, then, for a fact, that nothing is so small but that from it anything 
can be made and can exist without form. For all things are formed, generated, 
multiplied, and destroyed in their proper agreement, and they shew their origin 
so that it can be seen what each separate thing was in the beginning, and 
what it becomes in its ultimate matter, while that which intervenes is a kind of 
imperfect condition which Nature intermingles in the process of generation. 
Since, however, these accidents can be separated by the action of Vulcan, so 
that they shall be rendered inoperative, Nature can, in this instance, be 
corrected. This is what is done in the Stone. For if you would make it of its 
proper material, which can be perfectly learnt from the circumstances pointed 
out, you must remove from it its superfluities, and you must form, multiply, and 
increase it as a separate thing in its adaptation, which without such adaptation 
cannot be done. In this instance Nature has left it imperfect, since she has 
formed, not the Stone, but its materials, which are impeded by accidents, so 
that it is not able to produce these effects which the Stone, after due prepartion, 
is able to produce. Such material, without preparation, is, so far as regards the 
Stone, a mere fragmentary and imperfect substance, which has in it no harmony 
whereby alone it could be called perfect, or serve the human body for healing 
purposes. You have an illustration of this in the microcosm. See a man who 
is formed by the Mechanical Power only as a man. He is not an entire and 
perfect work, since he lacks harmony, but is only fragmentary until the woman 
is created like him; then the work is entire. Each of these is earth, and the 
two at last make the entire human being, capable of increasing and growing, 

and nothing is added to, or coheres with, them save and except the vital principle. Thus, if you take any body 
in your hands, then you have invisibly three substances under one form. We have now to discuss concerning 
these three. For these three substances exist under one form, and they give and produce all health. If you hold wood 
in your hand, then by the testimony of your eyes you have only one body. But it is of no advantage for you to know 
this. The clowns see and know as much. You should descend and penetrate beneath the surface, when you would 
learn that you are pressing in your hands Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt. Now if you can detect these three things by 
looking, touching, and handling them, and perceive them separated each from the other, then at last you have found 
those eyes with which a physician ought to see. Those eyes ought to see these three constituents as plainly as the 
clown certainly sees the crude wood. Now this example may make you able to recognise man, too, in these three, no 
less than wood itself. That is, you have man built up in a similar form. If you see only his bones, you see as the 
clown sees. But if you have separated his Sulphur, his Mercury, and his Salt, then you see clearly what a bone is, 
and if that bone be diseased you see where it is faulty, and from what cause, and how it suffers. So, then, the mere 
looking at externals is a matter for clowns ; but the intuition of internals is a secret which belongs to physicians. Now 
if these visible things must exist, and beyond their mere aspect medicine fails, then their nature must be deduced so 
that it may lay itself bare and be exhibited. Moreover, see into what ultimate matter these things are resolved, and 
into how many kinds. You will find these three substances divided from one another into just as many kinds. Now 
the clown cares nothing about all this ; but the physician cares. The mere experimentalist neglects it, but not the 
physician. The quack thinks nothing of it ; but the physician considers a good deal. Before all else these three 
substances and their properties in the great universe should be understood. Then the investigator will find the same 
or similar properties in man also : so that he now understands what he has in his hands, and of what he is making him- 
self master. — f^ arciinirum^ Libf.r /. 

Morbific Effects of Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury. -With regard to Sulphur, its effect should be thus 
estimated. It never produces an evil effect by itself, unless it be astral, that is, a spark of fire shall have been 
cast into it. Then is power awakened by that spark. Is not the act of burning a virile one ? Without it nothing is 
produced. So, then, if any disease declare itself from Sulphur, then, first of all, the Sulphur should be properly named. 
It is essentially a masculine operation. There are many sulphurs, such as resin, gums, botin, axungia, fat, butter, oil, 
iiimim ardcns, etc. There are some sulphurs of woods, some of animals, some of men, some of metals, as oil of gold, 
of Luna, of Mars ; some of stones, as liquor of marble, of alabaster, etc. ; some of seeds, and of all other things, each 
with their own special names. There is afterwards the fire falling upon each, which alone is their star, and this, too, 

Manual concerning the Philosophers' Stone. loi 

and this power is effected by indwelling harmony. So the Philosopher's Stone, 
which should renovate man no less than metals, if it be freed from its super- 
fluous accidents and established in harmony with itself, performs wonders in 
all diseases. Unless this be done, all your attempts with it are in vain. But 
if you wish to establish it in its harmony you must bring it back to its first 
matter, so that the male may be able to operate on the female, that the outer 
part may act on the inner, and the inner be turned outwards, and so both 
seeds, the male and female, may be enclosed in complete concordance ; that by 
the action of Vulcan they may be brought to more than perfection, and be 
exalted in degree, so that each, as a qualified, tempered, and clarified essence, 
pours all virtue into the human body as well as into metals. Thus will they 
render each sound, will drive away defilement by the method of expulsion, and 
introduce what is good into the human blood by its power of attraction to a 
due place, so that the microcosm which is situated in the limbus of the earth, 
and is formed out of the earth, may by this medicine, as by something like 
itself, be radically, and not in mere imagination, but most surely, led to health 
and kept therein. This is the Mystery of Nature, and such is the secret which 
every physician ought to know. And this, too, every one can comprehend 
who is born of astral medicine. But, that I may more clearly describe the 
nature and preparation of so excellent a medicine, so that the sons of learning, 
who love the truth, may be initiated, know ye that Nature has given a certain 
thing wherein, as in a chest, are enclosed i, 2, 3, the virtue and power whereof 
suflSce abundantly for preserving the health of the microcosm, so that, after 
its preparation, it drives away all imperfections, and is the veritable defence 
against old age. This we name the Balsam.''' 

with its distinguishing name. And this operation is, in one respect, peccant matter. Moreover, with regard to Salt it 
should be known that it exists of itself as a material humour, and introduces no disease unless it be joined with its star. 
Its star is resolution, which gives it a masculine power. Salt, no less than the spirit of vitriol, tartar, alum, nitre, etc., 
exhibits itself tumultuously if it is resolved. Now, whence can such a nature be infused into humours, except by a 
star? About this physicians have formed a conspiracy of silence. Even if they had been guilty of no other blunder 
save that in all their causes and cures they had omitted the star, that would have been quite sufficient to prove that 
they had built their house on a foundation of moss and sand. You should know, also, that salts are manifold. Some 
are lime.s, some ashes, some arsenical, some antimonial, some marchasitic, and others of a similar sort. And from all of 
these are produced and begotten peculiar diseases according to the body of the salt ; which diseases thereupon take the 
name and nature special to each. So, too, understand concerning Mercury. This of itself is not virile unless the star 
of Sol sublimates it. Otherwise it does not ascend. Its preparations are many, but there is only one body. But the 
body of this is not like Sulphur or Salt, which have many bodies, from whence come different salts and different 
sulphurs. This has only one body, but the star changes this in different ways, and into various natures. So, then, 
from the same source many diseases are produced. Thus its masculine nature comes from the star, and by this nature 
it has its morbific effect. If, then, all diseases are comprised under these three heads, each with its own name and 
title, know that you must reduce to Sulphur all that is sulphureous, in the sense that it burns. What is Mercurial should 
be reduced by sublimation if it be adapted thereto. What is from Salt should he reduced to such salt as is appropriate. 
These, then, are the three general causes of disease, as we have grouped them together above. — Ibid. Some further 
extensions of the philosophy of Paracelsus concerning the prime principles in their relation to disease will be found in 
an appendix to this volume. 

• We must know before all things that a balsam resides in our body by the virtue of which the body is preserved 
from putrefaction. That singular balsam is present in all members of the body, for there is one in the blood, another 
in the marrow, a third in the arteries, bones, etc. While this balsam remains entire and uncorrupted it is impossible 
for any opening of the skin to take place. But when by means of the preparation of salts it happens to be corrupted, 
then the principles of corrosion begin ' to act. For cure in this case the whole attention must be devoted to the 
restoration of that which has been removed from the balsam by corruption. This is effected by the balsam derived 
from other elementary bodies. This, I say, is found in external elements, by which also other generated things are 
preserved from putrefaction. Hence it is reasonably called the mumia of the external body of the elements, that is to 
say, of their fruits. Such balsam is found congenital in the radical matrices of all growing things. Every body pro- 

I02 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

In what substance Nature has placed such a number you must know 
beforehand ; since I am unable, for many reasons, to describe it more clearly. 
How it is prepared, Galen, Rhasis, and Mesne were ignorant, and it will not 
be reached by their followers. For this medicine requires such preparation 
as mere pill-sellers do not compass, and understand less about it than a Swiss 
cow. Moreover, it involves, as it were, celestial and special modes of opera- 
tion. For it purifies and renovates, so to say, by regenerating, as you can 
read more at length in my Archidoxies, and at the same time study the origin 
and essence of metals and of metallic substances, together with their powers. 
He, therefore, who has ears to hear, let him hear, and see whether Theophrastus 
writes about lies or about the truth, and whether he is uttering mere inanities 
from the devil, as do you, O Sophist, utter your trifles — you who are from the 
devil and are surrounded by lies and obscurities, and call nothing good unless 
it be comprehensible by your fool's head, and that makes for your broth without 
any previous labour. For you, with your one eye, wander about at random, 
and cannot get straight to your kitchen window. By all means, twist your 
intricate thread, and try to find the centre of the labyrinth, by means of an 
obscure star ; this will in no wise offend me. But if you would only use your 
foresight sometimes, and see whereupon the art of Theophrastus is founded, 
and how feeble your patchworks are, Theophrastus would not be so opposed 
to you. But what things I now write briefly, and shall write, so that my astral 
disciples may be able to perceive them, and enjoy them, and boast of them, 
these, through the diligence of one who is not ashamed to learn, can be easily 
understood ; since there is nothing so difficult but that it may be understood 
and learned by labour and study. The practical method of this work, then, is 
as follows : — 

The Preparation of the Matter of the Stone. 
Take some mineral electrum in filings. Put it in its own sperm (others 
read. Take the immature mineral electrum, place it in its own sphere), so that 
all impurities and superfluities may be washed away from it, and purge it as 

vided with life is vital by reason thereof. The first thing to be considered in its extraction is the quantity present in 
the given body, for our intention regards not the body, nor the form, but solely the inherent balsam by which it lives. 
The extraction of these balsams is almost accomplished by separation, that is to say, while the arcanum is being 
removed from the body which was sustained by the balsam. You must know that elementary balsam is nothing else 
than that which we are accustomed to call mercurial liquor in the three principles. Whence it follows that all curative 
efficacy resides in Mercury. Mercury of this kind usually appears most manifestly in thereniabin and nostoch, as also 
in minerals of water, the fruits of the earth, and in the stars. Hence it is clear why antimony is so efficacious in the 
cure of ulcers, namely, because it contains mercurial liquor more abundantly than the other species of marcasite. In 
like manner the curative virtue of gold must be understood, for no body produced from the element of water contains a 
more copious or more subtle mercurial liquor. Thus also, among things which grow out of the earth, there is not a 
more arcane remedy than the mercurial liquor of cheirine and realgar. The same is to be understood of chaos and the 
firmament according to the method of their operations. But for the understanding of every mercurial liquor it is 
necessary to know that metals can be transmuted into a certain matter of this kind -as iron into crocus of Mars, Venus 
into flower of copper, tin into spirit of Jupiter. Yet these are not true liquors, but need a more exact separation 
according to their canons. There are extant various forms and descriptions of balsams according to the categories of 
the four mineral elements in the writings of the ancients. Some are wont to describe them according to the form of a 
plaster, others of a powder, others of the oil of water, etc. But I think that these descriptions ought to be completely 
rejected as purposeless, devoid of skill, plainly repugnant to Nature, and dependent on a dietary regimen which is the 
foe of Nature. The true and only balsam perfectly purges out and removes that which is separated, restoring the body 
to its original condition by the accession of fresh hA^axn. — Chirurgin Magna, Pars. III., Lib. V. 

Manual concerning the Philosophers' Stone. 103 

completely as possible by means of stibium, after the manner of the alchemists, 
so that you may suffer no harm from its impurity. Afterwards, resolve it in 
the stomach of the ostrich, which is born in the earth, and is strengthened in 
its virtue by the sharpness of the eagle. When the electrum is consumed, and, 
after its solution has acquired the colour of the calendula, do not forget to 
reduce it into a spiritual pellucid essence, which, indeed, is like amber. Then 
add half as much of the spread eagle as the corporal electrum weighed before 
its preparation. Frequently extract from it the stomach of the ostrich, by which 
means your electrum becomes continually more and more spiritual. But when 
the stomach of the ostrich becomes weary with labour, it is necessary to 
refresh it and always to abstract it. Lastly, when it again loses its sharpness, 
add tartarised quintessence, but so that at the height of four fingers it may be 
deprived of its redness, and may pass over together with it. Do this for so 
long a time and so often until it grows white of itself. When, now, it is enough 
(for you will see with your eyes how it will gradually fit itself for sublimation), 
and you have this sign, sublimate. Thus the electrum is turned into the 
whiteness of the exalted eagle, and with very little labour it is transferred and 
transmuted. Now, this is what we seek in order to use it in our medical 
practice. With this you will be able to succeed in many diseases which refuse 
to yield to vulgar medical treatment. You will also be able to convert this into 
a water, into an oil, and into a red powder, and to use it for all purposes for 
which you require it in medicine. 

But I say to you in truth that there is no better foundation for all 
medicine than lies hid in electrum. Although I do not deny, nay, I write it in 
my other books, that great secrets lie concealed in other mineral bodies as 
well ; yet they require greater and longer labour, and the right use of them is 
not easy, especially to the unskilled ; so that if any one attempts them he 
causes more harm than good. For this reason it is not advisable that every 
alchemist should seek to practise the art of medicine when he has no 
acquaintance with it. Some prohibitory method should be devised which 
might debar such imaginary physicians. I, indeed, will not take their blame, 
or recognise them as disciples, since they do not pursue the truth, but I hold 
them as known deceivers, and lazy vagabonds, who take the bread out of the 
mouth of true disciples, and do harm to such deliberately, and think nothing 
of conscience or of art. In the prepared electrum we have described there lies 
hid so much power of healing men that no surer or more excellent medicine 
can be found in the whole worid. The Galenists, indeed, those drug-selling 
doctors, call it poison and oppose it, not from any knowledge of it, but from 
mere pride and folly. I grant, indeed, that there is a poison in its preparation, 
as great as, or greater, than that of the Tyrian serpent which forms an 
ingredient in theriaca. But that after its preparation the poison remains 
has not been proved. For Nature, though by some blockheads this is not 
understood, always inclines to her own perfection, and much more, therefore, 
may be brought to perfection by proper methods. What is more, I grant that 

1 04 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

after its preparation it is a greater and more potent poison than before ; but it 
is such a poison as seeks after its like, to find out fixed and other incurable 
diseases, and to expel them. It does not suffer the disease to speed its 
course and do injury, but as if it were an enemy to the disease it attracts the 
kindred matter to itself, consumes it from the very roots, and washes it as 
soap washes the spots from a foul rag, along with which spots the soap 
retires also, leaving the rag pure, uninjured, clean, and fair to look upon. So, 
then, this poison, as you say, has a far different and better effect than your 
axungia which you employ to cure the French disease, anointing more 
frequently than the currier does a hide. This arcanum, which lies hid in this 
, medicament, has within it a well-proportioned, well-prepared, and excellent 
essence, which can be compared to no poison, unless one understands it, as I 
said before ; and it is as different from your quicksilver, which you use as an 
ointment, and from your precipitate, in virtue and efficacy, as heaven from 
earth. It is, therefore, called, and really is, a medicine blessed by God, which 
has not been revealed to all. It is better compounded than that dirty 
medicine which the slowly walking doctor has in his gown, or has filtered 
through his fillet or hood. Moreover, this blessed medicine has thrice greater 
force and virtue for operating in all diseases, however they may be called, 
than all the drug shops you ever saw. But I did not find this in idleness, by 
sitting still, and by sloth, nor did I find it in an urinal, but by travelling, or, 
as you say, by wandering, and by much diligence and labour it was necessary 
for me to learn it, so that I might know and not merely think. But you suck 
your medicine out of the old cushion and bolster on which some old witch has 
sat who has covered your celestial head with a blue hat for medicine and 
breathed on you. So, then, I shall never regret my travels, and I shall 
remain your master and follow in the steps of Machaon, which, indeed, spring 
from the light of Nature as a flower from the warmth of the sun. But in 
order that my proposed task may not be delayed and remain imperfect, ob- 
serve further how the thing must be done, and what power and property of 
medicine Nature has given to the Philosophers' Stone, and how it leads on 
to its end. 

Here follows the remainder of the Preparation. 

Having destroyed your electrum, as aforesaid, if you wish to proceed 
urther, in order that you may come to the desired end, take the electrum 
which has been destroyed and rendered evanescent, as much of it as you wish 
to bring to perfection, place it in the Philosophic Egg, and seal it closely so 
that nothing may evaporate. Stand it in Athanor until, without any addition, 
it begins of itself to be.resolved from above, so that it looks like an island in 
the midst of that sea, gradually decreasing every day, and at last being 
changed into the resemblance of blacking. This black substance is the bird 
which flies by night without wings, which the first dew from heaven, with its 
constant influence, its ascent and descent, has changed into the blackness of a 

Manual concerning the Philosopher^ Stone. 105 

crow's head. Then it assumes the tail of a peacock, and subsequently acquires 
the wings of a swan. Lastly, it takes the highest red colour in the whole 
world, which is the sign of its fiery nature, whereby it drives out all the acci- 
dents of the body, and warms again the cold and dead limbs. 

Such a preparation, according to the opinion of all philosophers, is made 
in a single vessel, in a single furnace, in a single fire, the vaporous fire never 
being allowed to cease. 

So this medicine is as if heavenly and perfect, or at least can become more 
perfect than the moon, by its own flesh and blood, and by the interior fire 
being turned outwards and prolonged, as was just now said, whereby all the 
impurities of metals are washed away, and the occult properties of the same 
are made manifest. For this more than perfect medicine is all-powerful, 
penetrates all things, and infuses health at the same time as it expels all 
disease and evil. In this respect no medicine on earth is like it. In this, 
therefore, exercise yourself and be strenuous, for this will bring you praise 
and glory, and you will not be a mere quack, but a real scientist, and, more- 
over, you will be compelled to love your neighbour. For such a divine secret 
no one can perceive and understand without divine aid, since its virtue is 
unspeaTsable and infinite, and by it Almighty God is known. 

Know, too, that no solution will take place in your electrum unless it thrice 
runs perfectly through the sphere of the seven planets. This number is 
necessary for it, and this it must fulfil. Attend, therefore, to the preparation, 
which is the cause of the solution, and for your glorified, destroyed, and 
spiritualised electrum use the tartarised arcanum for washing off superfluities 
which accrue in the course of preparation, so that your labour may not be in 
vain. Of the arcanum of the tartar nothing will remain, only you must 
proceed circularly with it according to the number mentioned. Thus, easily of 
itself is produced in the philosophic &g% and the vapour of fire the philosophic 
water, which the philosophers call aqua viscosa ; it will also coagulate itself, 
and represent all colours, so that at last it is adorned with the deepest red. 
I am forbidden to write more to you on this mystery, such is the command of 
the Divine Power. Assuredly is this art the gift of God. On this account it 
is not all who understand it. God gives it to whom He will, and suff'ers no 
one to extort it from Him by violence. He alone will have honour in this 
work ; Whose name be for ever blessed. Amen. 

Here follows the Use of the Stone. 
And now it is necessary that I should write concerning the use of this 
medicine, and concerning its weight. You must know that the dose of this 
medicine is so small and so light as is scarcely credible. It should only be 
taken in wine, or something of that kind, and always in the smallest quantity 
on account of its celestial power, virtue, and efficacy. For it is only revealed 
to man for this reason, that nothing imperfect should remain in Nature, and it 
has been so provided and predestined by God that its virtue and arcanum 

io6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

should be produced by art, in order that to man, made hi the image of God, 
all created things should be made to do service, and that before all else God's 
almighty power should be known. Whosoever, therefore, has intellect from 
God, to him this medicine shall be given. That ignorant Galenist, Beanus, will 
not be able to comprehend it, nay, he will turn from it in disgust. For all his 
works are works of darkness, while this work takes effect and acts in the light 
of Nature. And so, now, in brief but true words, you have the root and origin 
of all true medicine, which no one shall take from me, even though Rhasis with 
all his base progeny should go mad, and Galen be bitter as gall. Let Avicenna 
gnash his teeth, and Mesne in a word measure the length and breadth, it will 
be too high for all of them, and Theophrastus will stand by the truth. On the 
contrary, the lame works of the ointment-people, and the unctions of the phy- 
sicians and doctors, with all their pomp and authority, shall go to utter 

There is only one thing more to say, since to many this description of 
mine will appear obscure. You will say, O my Theophrastus, you speak too 
briefly and abstrusely to me. I know your discourses, how correctly you im- 
part your subjects and your secrets. Wherefore this description will be of no 
avail for me. To this I answer that pearls are not for swine, nor a long tail 
for a goat. Nature has not seen fit to bestow them. Wherefore I say that 
to whomsoever it has been given by God, he will find sufficiently and above 
measure, more than he wished for. I write this by way of initiation. Follow 
with foresight, and avoid not study and labour, nor let the parade of fools 
lead you astray, nor the diligence which is necessary turn you away. By con- 
stant meditation many things are found out, and this is not without its reward. 
So use to a good purpose what I here give you ; let it be to you a fountain, 
and then you will have no need to drink from the troughs of the pill-sellers, 
nor will your lot be with the body-snatchers, but you will be able to serve 
your neighbour well, and to give praise and honour to God. 

These things I determined to set down briefly, in my book on the Phil- 
osophers' Stone, lest men might think that Theophrastus cured many diseases 
by diabolical methods of treatment. If you follow me rightly, you will do the 
same, and your medicine will be like the air which pervades and penetrates all 
that lies open to it, and is in all things, drives away all fixed diseases, and 
mingles itself radically with them, so that health takes the place of disease 
and follows it. From this fountain springs forth the True Aurum Potabile,* 
and nothing better can anywhere be found. Take this as faithful advice, and 
do not annihilate Theophrastus before you know who he is. I am unwilling 
to set down more in this book, even though it might be necessary to say some- 
thing, and to philosophise somewhat concerning the aurum potabile and the 

» The lungs, the liver, the spleen, and the reins may all be sustained and nourished by potable gold, which 
preparation all physicians ought to have by them, because no physician is of any consideration who is without it. I am 
acquainted with its preparation and am possessed thereof. It would not yet be advantageous to publish it, but time 
will perhaps reveal it. — Chiruygia Magna, Part I., Tract I., c. 17. 

Manual concerning the Philosophers' Stone. 107 

liquor solis* I only wished to note these things here, and if you prepare them 
rightly they are not to be despised in their powers. But since other of my 
books treat of these secrets and make them sufficiently clear, namely, what a 
true physician ought to know, I will let the matter rest, hoping that this book 
may not be altogether without fruit, nay, that it may be of use to the Sons of 
THE Doctrine. May God grant His grace, to His own honour and glory ! 

• According to the treatise entitled De Male Ciiraiis Aegris Eesiituendis^ Lib. III., c. 30, Paracelsus in some 
cases made use of the Liquor Soils for the cure of leprosy. 

Here ends the Manual concerning the Medicinal Stone of the 



SEEING that certain medicines are discovered which preserve the human 
body for a second and subsequent periods of life, which also protect it 
altogether from diseases, corruptions, superfluities, and other diminu- 
tions of its powers ; nay, even when these infirmities and corruptions have 
broken in upon it, take them away, every physician must carefully study 
these medicines, and learn them from the very foundations. Indeed, number- 
less wearisome diseases and accidents of all kinds are taken away and 
extirpated from the very roots by this conservation of life. 

So, then, when we propose to write concerning the preparation for a long 
life it must be understood that we do this in two ways. The one is theoretical, 
the other practical ; for the subject of long life can be understood in both of 
these ways. And no physician ought to wonder that life can be prolonged — 
this also for two reasons. One is, that no fixed limit has been laid down 
for us, so that on some pre-determined day we must die ; nor is this left in 
our own power. The other reason is, that we have medicine from Him who 
has made us, by means of which we can keep the body in that state of 
soundness wherein it was created, and expel from it all diseases whatsoever. 

Now from this it may be gathered that death brings with it no disease, 
nor is it the cause of any. On the other hand, no disease causes death. 
And although the two coexist together, they are still no more to be compared 
one with the other than fire and water. They are no more akin one to 
another, nor do they agree better together. Natural sickness abhors death, 
and every member of the body avoids it. Death, then, is something distinct 
from disease. So far as relates to our present purpose what we wish is .to 
speak to our own disciples from experience. We would speak to men who 
know those properties of things which are discovered by the highest art and 
by daily practice. To the mere pretenders and presumptuous men of 
medicine all these matters are perfectly occult and unknown. So it is that 
we write only for our own disciples, and not for those others. It is more 

* The Geneva folio contains a considerable literature on the subject of long life, and this, as it will be readily 
understood, is full of repetitions and unimportant variations. At the same time, there is much in it which is only 
partially represented by the treatise translated in the text, so much, indeed, that it exceeds the reasonable limits of 
foot-notes, and it has, therefore, been thought better to print the Book Concerning Long Life^\ACv:\^ pretends to be 
complete in itself, without annotations of any kind, and to reserve the additional materials to be dealt with in a separate 

A Book concerning Long Life. 109 

certain than certainty itself that the restoration and renovation of the body do 
take place, and that by these processes the whole frame can be transmuted 
to something better. In like manner, we see with our eyes that all metals are 
in their bodies purged so that they are protected from rust, and that even 
wood and the dead bodies of corpses are embalmed so that they suffer no 
further decay. 

If, therefore, such things as these are possible to Nature, why should any 
one shrink from our writings, supported, as they are, by examples, although 
put in a brief space, or stand aloof from them because we draw a comparison 
between the bodies of metals and those of men ? We do not suppose them to 
be one and the same. We know that they are altogether different ; but in 
both we see the same method of conservation, and this is just what would 
have been inferred from experience, for if a dead body, by means of embalming, 
can be conserved, by how much more can a living one be kept from decay ? 

First, then, it should be known that this conservation, so far as it refers 
to the body of man, is to be considered in three parts : firstly, with regard to 
early youth; secondly, with regard to middle age; and thirdly, with regard to 
old age. Hence it can be understood why we begin severally from youth, from 
middle age, or from old age, since the end cannot be expected at any deter- 
minate period of life. The young life is sometimes destroyed in the mother's 
womb, sometimes in the cradle, sometimes during the period of growth, and 
sometimes, again, by the inordinate use of food or drink, whereby the nature 
being depraved and the strength diminished, it fails to reach the true limit of 
human existence. In a case of this kind the physician cannot but compare this 
period of life to old age, because it is equally defective and stunted in its 
nature. When, therefore, as often happens, children are born diminutive and 
sickly from their mother's womb, directly they come to the light they ought to 
be imbued with these conservating substances, by smearing the mother's 
nipples therewith, as is more fully explained in our practical method. By this 
method life and strength can be promoted, just as they can in the case of old 
men who were not so treated in their infancy. But in the matter of bodily 
power there is considerable resemblance between the old man's last span of 
life and that early period in which children are sometimes so broken down that 
they cannot attain to old age unless that first period of existence be fortified 
for them. 

That is considered middle age when the body has ceased to grow and 
gray hairs begin to appear. At that time should anything occur to weaken 
or break up this period of existence, such as excessive work or debauchery, a 
similar method of treatment should be adopted before old age supervenes. If 
there be too long delay old age may never be reached at all, because that aid 
came too late. 

The final period of life may be said to begin when the hair grows gray, 
and it lasts up to death. If this stage be complicated with weakness and 
decay, again the same method must be adopted in good season. But where the 

no The Hermetic mid Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

powers are sound and strong the method of conservation need only be used 
in proportion to the requirements. This, then, is the three-fold division of life 
to which we alluded ; and in whatever period the regimen of conservation shall 
have begun, in each alike existence starts afresh from youth, and goes through 
the different stages according to its limits. 

Now, although we are supposed to be talking with our own disciples, yet 
this argument, amongst others, might be brought against us by empirics. 
Since we have such a means of attaining long life and driving away disease and 
death, how comes it that so many princes, emperors, kings, and other great 
persons die premature deaths ? Why do they suffer from infirmities when they 
could purchase immunity for money, and even ward off impending death ? We 
answer those who make such enquiries thus : We have never read or heard of a 
prince or king who used these remedies, with the single exception of Hermes 
Trismegistus. Many others have existed, as we point out in our book on 
Restorations, but they are unknown to the dwellers upon earth. And, though 
we do not consider them as a solution of the difficulty, yet still it must be re- 
membered that the physicians of these emperors and princes understand less 
about medicine than the clowns who spend their lives in the fields. Hence it 
happens that they more frequently promote and conduct their princes and 
heroes to death than to life. Acting upon the advice of their medical men, it 
would be quite impossible for them to reach their proper period of life, and 
this on account of the ignorance of the faculty, who are physicians only in 
name. The argument, we repeat, is not thus answered ; but we might also 
put forward the irregular life of princes, who often shorten their own existence, 
and this more as a punishment than through devotion. Then, too, there are 
many princes to whom these and the like remedies are altogether unknown. 

By these three cases we consider that we have answered the argument 
advanced against us. 

In what has been just said, we desire to point out not that this three-fold 
division of the periods of life is alone to be considered, but also something else 
which is by far more important, and this in two ways : one, namely, where 
bodies lay themselves open to diseases by irregular life, whence proceed 
dropsy, jaundice, gout, the falling sickness, pleurisy, and other like diseases, 
chronic or acute. Not only the division of the periods of life, but each disease 
in particular has to be taken into account by itself. 

In the other case diseases occur in conjunction with irregular life through 
the seasons or by means of accidents, as in the instance of pestilence, mania, 
and other visitations which are destructive of life. These two methods involve 
the process of long life. In this way we shall have to understand what 
diseases arise naturally and what from external causes connected with Nature; 
then those which derive their origin from something beyond Nature, as from 
incantations and superstitious practices, about which last there will be much 
more to say. For where such a disease occurs it must often be considered as 
a punishment, and on this account is not curable. We admonish our disciples 

A Book concerning Long Life. 1 1 1 

to abstain from such practices. But so far as the visitation proceeds from 
Nature, this we teach how to cure and guard against by natural means. 

Although we know and do not forget the effect of rings, images, and the 
like, which guard life against death, still we set down nothing on that subject 
here, but pass it by, because it has to do with astronomy. We speak, how- 
ever, of these matters elsewhere, and proceed by another method, which is 
well worthy of all attention. 

We first set aside diseases which do not arise from the bodily constitution, 
or from debility, but from some other source, before we speak of means of 
conservation. So, too, secret diseases will have to be examined. If they 
were diseases like gout in the feet or the hands, falling sickness, etc., they 
would not have to be set aside on these grounds, but would be cured by 
methods of conservation. So, then, there are three different classes of disease : 
one of a long-standing character, such as fevers, hyposarcee, jaundices, and 
the like ; another of diseases proceeding from within, as pestilences, pleurisy, 
abscesses, and so on; and a third of chronic diseases, as gout, falling sickness, 
and others of like nature. The first we must pass over, for the second 
prescribe remedies, and in the third case suggest methods of conservation, so 
that they may be guarded against. 

Then, again, we must not omit those diseases which have a mental origin, 
and arise from the sufferer's own imagination, or from that of another person, 
as in the case of incantations, superstitions, and the like. 

With such a division as this, it must be understood, by way of conserva- 
tion, that those diseases which have a mental origin are in like manner 
removed by mental treatment : those which proceed from the patient's own 
ideas, by some objective mode of treatment ; those which arise from imagina- 
tion, by imaginations ; and those which arise from incantations, by counter- 
incantations ; while those which come from superstitions have to be relieved 
and cured by counter-superstitions. Then, after ailments of this kind have 
been removed from the body, there follow at once seven means of preservation, 
one directed to the natural strength or weakness ; another against casual or 
accidental diseases, and the like, with the view of guarding against them for 
the future ; a third against mental attacks ; a fourth against incantations ; a 
fifth against imaginations ; a sixth against the patient's own notions ; and the 
seventh against superstitions. 

Marvel not that no mention is here made of temperaments, because the 
preservation of the whole body does not depend upon these, or upon their 
proportions, but rests on the virtue of Nature alone, from which all other 
excellencies arise. For the sole virtue is that which resuscitates and re-kindles 
the humours, which are four in number, but of which no account need be 
taken in medicine. The physician who bases his treatment on the natural 
temperaments may be fitly compared to a person who extinguishes a fire and 
leaves coals still burning. It is better worth considering how to preserve the 
root than the branches of a tree, because from the root the strength of the tree 

112 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

issues forth. If by chance anything happens to the branches — as may occur 
to the root of life from the temperament and the humours — this is merely an 
accident which in no way brings health, but rather takes it away. That we 
said was to be guarded against, when we were speaking of the three 
classes of disease, with the idea of resuscitating and re-kindling the life of the 
root, and, together with the branches, deriving its own nutriment thence, 
according as the complex qualities suggest their own remedies. When we 
seek to compare a short life with a long one it is necessary to know what life 
is, where it is, and how it may be diminished or augmented, as also whether 
it is something analogous to sight, touch, taste and smell. Judging by Nature, 
it would be impossible for us to know what it is which produces sight, and 
how it supplies it, as we have set down in our treatise on the Bodily Faculties, 
or which of those powers possessed by the body can be investigated by natural 
means. It is not so with life, because life does not derive its origin from 
natural seed, but has a spiritual source, though its origin is still natural. It is 
just as when the flint is struck by the steel, the fire leaps forth. There is no 
fire in either, and yet fire is produced from them. They are not fiery by 
nature, neither in their elements nor in their combinations are they combus- 
tible bodies ; they rather resist fire more than other stones and metals do, as 
is seen in their transmutations, wherein no fire is elicited or can be obtained. 
None otherwise life takes its origin from something wherein is no life, as from 
the seed, the root, the sperm, and the like, just as the spark comes from the 
flint by the force of the ens, not of the esse. So, also, the life of man proceeds 
from the ens. 

And then one has to consider whether this life can be produced, improved, 
or strengthened, seeing it is an incorporeal, volatile something, like a fire to 
which the more wood you supply the more fiercely it burns. In like manner, 
life, the more of the humour of life it has, the more the spirit of life abounds 
in that life. Hone the fire bursts forth from some substance in which is no 
fire, it is impossible for us to know. Some think that it is due merely to 
hardness ; but how this can be the cause of a substance supplying that which 
is not contained in it, is not a subject for discussion in this place, where we 
treat solely concerning life. 

Since, then, we see that life is, as it were, a burning and living fire, in 
this way it is illustrated to us in a material fashion and in a sense which comes 
under our ocular observation, that life belongs to the same category as fire, 
and we know that fire lives in wood, as also in resins and oily substances. 
None otherwise life according to its goodness or evil is strong or weak. 
Whatever of good or evil fire there is in it, as in the wood, we are able 
naturally to amend, or to add that in which it delights, or by which it will be 
rekindled ; we can regulate it at our pleasure, can supply something stronger 
and stronger when another thing fails, substituting something else in its place 
exactly as the fire is renovated with fresh wood. Though it had been well 
nigh extinguished down to its last spark, it is again kindled, and burns more 

A Book concerning Long Life. 113 

brightly than before. It is increased by those replenishments, or by any other 
mode of regulation we see fit to adopt. 

Nor let us think that we must die on some precise day, sooner or later, 
or that it is derogatory that a Christian should believe it possible to prolong 
life by medicaments created by God for that purpose. Nay, it is altogether a 
mark of idolatry or of idiotcy not to believe that this is put in our power, just 
as we said above of fire. Our only defect is that we do not know the special 
kinds of wood by which we can kindle our life. It is not against Nature that 
we should live until the renovation of the world : it only passes our com- 
prehension. For the most part we lack wisdom, so that we are unable to 
judge what there is in existence which is useful for us, especially since we 
altogether ignore our powers in this respect. Adam, whom we think the 
wisest of mortal men, had perfect knowledge of these matters. Although 
he was deprived of the tree of life, this is not a matter of theology, but of 
medicine. There is a natural tree of life —the tree of the soul. 

Since, then, we are writing and teaching about long life, we should, in 
due course, at this point consider that kingdoms, districts, states, and valleys 
more or less contribute to the prolongation of existence. Some are more 
useful for the purpose than others. They affbrd more joy, more fresh air, and 
humours which are healthful to life. Among these exist causes which we 
ought to understand, connected with the land, the elements, the winds, the 
stars, and so on, which can make life longer than the common span of human 
existence. From the earth is produced everything that nourishes and supports 
our life ; and also that which destroys it and makes it perish. Hence we can 
gather that evil arises to our bodies not only from such things as poison and 
opiates, but from those things by which life is chiefly supported, as from gold 
and balm. Nor should it be thought that medicaments were created only for 
use against disease, as, for example, the Tyrian remedy against poison, nor 
should it be inferred that these have no operation in healthy bodies. For we 
should know that to keep the body in health just as many things have grown 
up as for taking away health. We can, by our daily food and drink, at one 
time injure our bodies, at another benefit them and keep them in health, ac- 
cording to our use or abuse of these things. Whatever we use of these 
elementary things becomes useful or hurtful to us according to our reception 
of them. For whatever the fire in us consumes as it burns, that the fire 
restores to us when it is extinguished. Whatever loss is brought about by 
the one or the other the air itself compensates. It never refuses life or deserts 
us ; it is we who do this for ourselves when we withdraw from the air. In this 
way, whatever one element takes away from us, some other element supplies 
in the way of conservation ; and by an alternation of this kind those elements 
are regulated, so that they may do us as little harm and as much good as 

And although the air may sometimes destroy us by the infection with 
which it is occasionally contaminated, still we are able to discover this, and 

114 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

even in another direction turn it to our advantage. The air is both particular 
and universal, good in one place, bad in another, just as one land is better 
than another. In like manner, it is compared with water, which, like the air, 
is sometimes to be avoided by us, and the same is the case with fire. For 
from one kind of wood a better and more healthful flame proceeds than from 
another. So, also, influences and the stars above ought to be understood, 
since they have the power of breaking up our health in different ways, and of 
destroying our health. In like manner, it must be remarked, that among these 
some have the power of conferring health and of prolonging life. For there is 
no section, species, or kind so bad but that some good also exists therein, though 
we are not able to twist and turn this, or to regulate it for our advantage, 
as, for instance, that we should be able to appropriate to ourselves Jupiter and 
to reject Mars, or to select for ourselves other useful and convenient stars, as 
we do with herbs, some of which we choose and others we reject. We have 
not the same kind of power over superior objects of rejecting the one and se- 
lecting another ; though even here we have some power when we bring it 
about through some means that they exert their influence on the inclinations, 
as when we use the rings or images of the planets, and other methods which 
we will explain more fully and clearly as we write. Furthermore, too, it must 
be considered that sometimes our life depends upon the aforesaid causes, and 
similar ones, either to be diminished or prolonged. We will say at greater 
length what good or evil can result to us from these, so that we may be able 
to understand the powers of God and His creation ; not that we would pre- 
sume to scrutinise these from their foundation, or fully describe them from the 
beginning, but only give some fragmentary thoughts concerning them. 

More at length we have to consider in what essential way such things as 
diet, medicines, places of habitation, and the higher bodies exert their influence 
over us, so that we may be able to avail ourselves of the virtues contained 
in them, and to extend our life, and understand what their influence is, as 
also how they are able to do us good and help us. Their virtue far exceeds 
ours, because it is less subject to any sensible virtue, and it may help us just 
as a log is not able to burn unless some oiliness survives in it. The virtues of 
the things we have spoken about by far surpass ours in their consummate 
strength, and this in the following way : Their essence and property, their 
nature and quality, are incorruptible and permanent, since they do not die like 
mere sensible bodies, or as man dies, who is deprived of life and stripped of 
all his powers when his body becomes a corpse. Yet herbs and like objects 
do not perish essentially. For the substance of these things, even when the 
material body putrefies, remains, an incorrupted essence indeed, in the earth, 
passing on in turn to its own like until the remaining earth is consumed. 
They are taken up for its use, and their essence passes through their decaying 
bodies into the earth. But in the case of man, his virtue, essence, and 
properties do not remain with his corpse, but withdraw themselves from 

A Book concerning Long Life. 115 

Hence it is gathered that we are not able to receive into our bodies the 
essence of herbs and the Hke, so that those bodies may be increased and 
nourished by the virtues of those herbs, simply because we receive the 
properties of the herbs, so that if one takes a pound of the quintessence of 
hellebore it relaxes the body as that herb does, or if a man eats gold his body 
shall become golden. By no means. Here is the difference : the one is 
appropriated, and the other remains in a material form within the body, with 
all its virtues abiding in itself. This is an essence, not a property, but a 
certain esse from which is produced an essence endowed with all its properties 
and appropriate natural gifts. Such an essence, when it has entered the body, 
mingles with the humours for sustaining the spiritual life. This essence is a 
humour, and constitutes the life of the thing, and for this reason the two 
humours combine in one, and agree in their intermixture so that the inner 
receives the esse of the outer. The one is united inseparably with the other, 
just as one wine is mixed with another. Moreover, it must be remarked that 
consumption goes forth from that body because the humours of man's body are 
always mortal, and liable to decay ; whence it occurs that essences are 
deteriorated and weakened for the future. There are, then, in this one two 
contrary things, whereof one is corruptible as the humour of life, but the 
other, which is fixed, consists of the essences of things, their humours, and 
liquids. That which is fixed gives assistance until it is consumed, just as talc 
does, which fire has no power to injure, but, nevertheless, in process of time 
it is consumed in another way. With regard to long life, we complain 
bitterly, because we are deprived of the power to understand what we should 
take when weakness seizes on the fixed substance, and we become weak, like 
a lion worn out with a long fight, and no more abounding in strength, or 
when we have no wood to add to a fire that is going out. 

We know that there are some medicines, and some regions in which there 
is no death, in others it is slow, and life is very long because the harmonies 
which prolong life are in these places most abundant. Although there are in 
these places some who are mortal, still they live a very long time, concerning 
whom I do not purpose at present to write more fully. We should know also 
that some persons are immortal, so that we ought to learn what is mortal and 
what is not, as also what the grades of the universe are, what vast natural 
powers exist therein, and how supremely man may be beautified by a long life. 
This can be understood in two ways. That is mortal which cannot remain 
until the destruction of the world. That is immortal which will await such 
destruction, though these very things are themselves mortal. This lower 
world is not going to remain for ever in its substance. What is born therein 
is divided into mortal and immortal, so far as natural things are concerned 
only in common speech. For the world is not one and undivided, but 
partitioned off into regions, namely, Paradise and the outer world. In the 
latter we live with such hope as we can. But in Paradise, which is the other 
world, there is no death. This is no miracle, but purely natural, because the 

I 2 

ii6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

nature of that world allows it. Just as our gold preserves one from leprosy, 
so does Paradise preserve us from death, hot by a miracle in either case. Nor 
must it be understood as though our dead body was to rise, which would be a 
miracle, as we have said in our book on Heaven and Earth. It is most 
necessary we should know that in Paradise is born a being immortal in its 
substance. Moreover, in the essence of the outer world we have nothing but 
a fixed essence and a corruptible body, which are both preserved in Paradise. 
But to write much about this belongs not to our experience, beyond what the 
earthy essence teaches, which affords a centre. Nor ought we to discuss at 
length about these matters, since they far exceed our imagination, and every 
faculty which seeks to learn whilst on earth the order of Paradise. We speak 
of these things after a spiritual manner, rather in a dream than waking, and 
only for this reason to shew that the life there is enduring, up to the consum- 
mation, or perhaps beyond it, but this is to us occult. 

Whatever, then, is from Paradise is able to render our life immortal, and 
not the Nile itself could wash away that attribute or despoil us of that virtue. 
We are by our materiality, by our place of abode, and by our pursuits deprived 
of a certain amount of power, and so we will not write further about these 
matters. Still, we will endeavour to teach in the sequel about a long life, so 
far as it shall be in our power to look into the matter, leaving those things 
which we are not able to grasp, and rather considering the predestination of 
each in particular. 

In order to write more fundamentally concerning long life, weighing 
everything that conserves and defends it, it should be known that mind and 
being are the two methods by which soundness is either taken away or secured. 
In these two the health of our whole body, and everything that we do, is 
established. Out of the mind those matters regulate us which are therefrom 
produced, which also specially belong to it, as incantation, imagination, 
thoughts, and influences, all of which operate in the mental sphere. From the 
being those things govern us which belong to that department, such as the 
complexions, the qualities, the limbs, and the bones. Furthermore, this must 
be known and understood, that incantation, estimations, imagination, and 
influences are submerged in our mind when our thoughts are so plentiful and 
so powerful as to master our reason and our mind. So, too, from the most 
powerful forces of imagination, estimation, and incantation, the reason is 
submerged like the fragrance from the rose, whence it happens that it intro- 
duces syncope and madness amongst its influences, and so rules in the mind 
that it masters it and dominates it, not because it is produced in the mind, as 
the three preceding things are, but it has such a power of inclination, that it 
can turn it to good or evil, just as the sun shining through some glass tints 
according to its own nature whatever is contained in it. No otherwise does 
our mind exert a transmuting power according to its natural life, like ice 
melting in the sun. Those things which proceed from the being bring to us 
bodily infirmities from our complexions and qualities, which complexions 

A Book concerning Long Life. 117 

originally arise from the being, and this is conserved by the humours, accord- 
ing to the bodily organisation. 

It is in no way necessary to consider diseases of this kind, or the origins, 
beginnings, and essences of the mind and the being, nor again to inquire what 
the cholera is, or the phlegm, or the blood, or melancholy, but only to proceed 
generically, as will be shewn below. First, then, we will approach our 
practical method, because those other matters have no relevance to mental 
aflfairs, or mental things to them. So we will assign to bodily things each 
its own substantial medium, and, while remaining silent about mental things, 
we will point out the effect which these others have in the curative process. 
Understand, then, that the bodily substance must be conserved in the humour 
alone, as being that wherein is the life, and from which the complexions, and 
so on, are regulated. It is not the complexions or the qualities that have to 
be conserved or purified, nor need the losses of the liver or the spleen to be 
taken into consideration. Conservation itself removes all these things, and 
blots out all defects of a similar kind, together with all that is superfluous in 
the body, and thus reduces it to a state of equilibrium. Conservation of this 
kind does not operate thus by means of some grand specific of its own, but 
by means of its altogether incorruptible essence. 

We determine, therefore, to forget for the present higher matters, and to 
point out the practical method in its due order. Here the regimen must be 
first of all preserved, afterwards the disposition of the body must be considered, 
and thirdly, medicine. On these three the conservation is to be established. 
Regimen, from which we start, as regards regions, scarcely comes into the 
question amongst other matters, as it needs the least precautions, and only 
the convenient order and disposition of medicine. We put, therefore, our chief 
trust in that medicine which not only conserves man in youth, but also affects 
brutes. The chief essence of the same, which is present in natural objects, 
kindles the body with so excellent a virtue that no strength or virility can be 
wanting to it. At the same time no disease can affect it, since, through the 
conservation of youth, no decay is suffered to take place, no putrefaction can 
occur, no disease arises. It does not even admit the excrescence of super- 
fluities, whence it follows that no disease proceeds from superabundance, 
whilst, at the same time, it prevents the body from being corrupted, and so 
no evil can arise from corruption. Finally, it so protects the body that none 
of those diseases can enter which flow out from imagination or impression. 
In like manner, those diseases which proceed from tartarus are unable to 
adhere to it, and if any has fastened upon it beforehand it is removed. When 
you have once received what we lay down concerning a long life, there is 
nothing left which you can wish to understand from common sense, since we 
disclose our meaning only to those who have a good and extensive knowledge. 
Now, then, we will explain our method and practice as briefly as possible, 
though they will not be intelligible by common persons. We write only for 
those whose intelligence is above the average. 

1 1 8 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Its practical use is that one dram of this conservation should be taken 
once every month in the best wine, if the nature, up to that time, has not 
become debilitated. If decline has commenced, a dram should be taken every 
week. In the same way, if ninety or a hundred years have been reached, the 
same quantity mentioned above should be taken every three days. It should 
be carefully noted that if any one has been deprived of virile powers, the 
weight should be increased as necessary. For the natural power of man is 
virile in its own degree, and more potent for suffering in one than in another. 
All this must be taken into account in cases of conservation for the reason we 
have mentioned in the words preceding. Sometimes the constitution of 
a man is so weak that he cannot be conserved, as in the case of those who 
from birth have no good foundation or root. As a sponge cannot admit fire 
in the same way as wood does, so these persons do not admit of conservation 
in the same way as others do. So, then, though the medicine be perfect, still, 
on account of defect in the subject, in the way of constitution and perfection 
as required by Nature, the operation is weakened. 

Concerning the female sex, too, it should be understood that, so long as 
this method of imagination is applied, the menses will not fail for another 
period of life, nor yet fecundity for conceiving and bearing children ; provided 
only that the women, by their natural constitution, are qualified for this. For 
the spirit of life which is in them expels every contrary influence and conforms 
everything as it ought. 

So, too, of the yet unborn foetus. If at birth it be thus conserved it ac- 
quires a thoroughly sound constitution, proof against all diseases and preserved 
for a long life. 

A long life depends on three things : the vital spirit which conserves life 
in us all : after this arise the different temperaments and qualities, like the 
trunk and branches from a single root. We place the reception of con- 
servation herein, and endeavour to defend the rational spirit, by our 
conservation of the nature, from all those accidents which could be occasioned 
by temperament, such as excessive sorrow or joy, which arise from the 
humours. These, again, are fourfold, varying with the temperament and the 
qualities, and so on. For these no special medicine need be used. If the vital 
spirit only be conserved, these vital humours are conserved also, and if these 
exist without any defect, no perverted elements, such as temperaments, can 
arise. So, by this method, the body, and all that is therein, is rendered sound 
and healthy. Hence, too, it happens that no evil can occur to the rational 
spirit through the aggravation of the body, but it is conserved in a good 
essence and nature, just as it can easily be understood that it will be con- 
served with all its faculties, such as sight, hearing, taste, etc., in due pro- 
portion. The process of conservation, then, which we have already mentioned, 
we describe in two wa)'s, one by means of simples, the other by arcana. Yet, 
we would not wish to separate altogether simples from arcana, but, on the 
contrary, join them together, since simples of themselves have such marvel- 

A Book concerning Long Life. iig 

lous virtues and powers that some of them conserve for forty years, others for 
a hundred, and this, so far as conservation is concerned, we place on a par 
with the powers of the arcana. The essence of such simples which secure so 
long a life we consider in no way inferior to an arcanum. Take, for instance, 
the leaves of the daura, which prevent those who use it from dying for a 
hundred and twenty years. Its virtues we describe in the treatise on the 
Nature of Things, and here, for the most part, we preserve silence about them 
on the account of the incredulity of men. In the same way the flower of the 
secta croa brings a hundred years to those who use it, whether they be of 
lesser or longer age. There are many more of these no less worthy of regard 
which we do not set down here. The arcana, it is true, have greater powers 
. of conservation than the simples we have named, because they fortify and 
nourish the radical humours more than the simples do, just as flesh and herbs 
nourish men, but in unequal degrees, since one has more power than the other, 
but Nature derives satisfaction from this rather than from that, and partakes 
of it with greater advantage. We give the recipe, then, for conservation 
during two or three periods of existence, for men or for women, as follows : — 
Take of cut flowers §j. ; of leaves of the daura Sv. ; of essence of gold and of 
pearls each gss. ; of the quintessence of safi"ron, chelidony, and balm, each 
5 v. Mix them all together according to the artistic method, and keep as 
a compound for use, in glass vessels as above. This medicine is also 
sufficient to cure and to drive out any accidental diseases which may sub- 
sequently occur in the subject. 

Now we have to speak of mental afi"ections and assign to each its special 
remedy. Mental diseases, either those which proceed from the mind or come 
into the mind from without, may occur in different ways, as we have before 
said. And though we cannot ascertain exactly the origin and nature of these 
latter, since they are invisible to our eyes in their seats, and consequently 
in their powers, still we speak only of their effects which we can see, and of 
the operations which they shew us. On these we base our practical treatment, 
saying that their eff'ects are produced in the spirit of the mind (as we have 
elsewhere remarked), as our mind is merged in them. 

We neither wish nor are able to hinder the course of the heavenly bodies, 
yet we have the power of resisting them, just as a strong wall can be assailed 
with bombardment and with engines. The sun impresses its influence on a 
stone. If that stone be thrown into the water, the sun can no longer bring its 
powers to bear on it, and thus the stone is preserved. Similarly, influence can 
enter a man in two ways : in one, when it is impressed upon him by ideas. 
This cannot be hindered, as the grass in the meadows cannot vegetate and 
grow without the sun. The cause of this we set down in another place. In 
like manner, there is one kind of influence which conserves and sustains us as 
nutriment does the body. Such is the influence of the constellations. The 
other is accidental, and this does us injury by hindering the former so that it 
cannot exercise its operations upon us. We know this of planets and the like. 

1 20 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

We adopt measures of preservation against them so that their effects may 
have no power upon us. Such methods of conservation against the planets 
consist of rings and images specially constructed against their influences. 
What we have said on the subject of imaginations should be carefully noted. 
The rings of the planets have power of defending us from accidents, and so 
affect long life. But they are not satisfactory, for several reasons. And here 
is something to be known, namely, that the mental influence should be 
directed to some other object. For example, if Mars should be disposed to 
destroy me, and there be a mental inclination from him in my mind, which 
might induce mental disease, I construct my homunculus, that the operation of 
Mars may be directed to this image, and I may get off safely. It is easier to 
affect the homunculus, and so the planet is able to work its will more gently 
and without resistance. It takes the easier course, and leaves the more diffi- 
cult one. The material is the same by means of the opening that has been 
made. To this material Mars was inclined with the view of injuring my nature ; 
but he begins to operate on that which is easier, is satisfied therewith, and 
remains therein. Other reasons may be assigned for this, but we do not put 
them forward, since they have no bearing on the conservation of long life. 

In this way there is produced a conservation of the mind, that is to say, 
the heavenly bodies are distorted towards something less resistent, so that the 
mind may be freed from the heavy yoke of those heavenly bodies by means of 
which death is often inflicted. 

Against incantations, too, we would prescribe something, so that a long 
life may not be taken away by means of these. Remedies of this kind we have 
mentioned in several places, not as conservations, but simply for a cure of 
incantations. But the same is to be understood concerning them as in the 
case of the malefic stars. Incantations, that is, are to be guarded against in 
the same way as mental influences transferred to a homunculus. A similar 
operation holds good in its reversal to that which binds our minds and mental 
organs and our beings, the seat whereof is in the mind, as we remark in our 
treatise on Incantations. It must be directed to some other subject, and not 
to that which we have from the stars, but to its own incantation in the follow- 
ing manner : I construct a homunculus of wax to serve my purpose, and this I 
put in its place. Then, whatever attempt is made against me by way of 
incantation will be fulfilled on this image. For that proceeds from my mind, 
and the incantation from his mind, so that the minds meet, and on neither side 
is any harm done, or any effect produced. Under this form we have made 
clear the mode of resisting and preventing incantations by means of 

So, too, imagination destroys an imagination directed against us. It may 
happen that I am being killed by the imagination of another. Such an imagi- 
nation, which should be fulfilled in me, should be diverted elsewhere, lest 
health and long life be taken from me thereby. This I illustrate by the follow- 
ing example. If anyone feels great enmity against me, so as continually to 

A Book concerning Long Life. 121 

wish for my death, and is not an incantator, but still a most persistent enemy, 
and if I do not know this, but his evil disposition is hidden from me, I, on the 
other hand, settle my mind in the greatest possible repose, by this method of 
protection being hostile to none, hurting none. By means of this piety, such 
great envy which is directed against me cannot be carried out ; for piety is the 
principal and most consummate means of preservation against bad imagina- 
tions which can possibly be devised. 

Estimation, in like manner, which is in ourselves, may operate in the 
same way. When I think more of myself than my reason warrants, such 
estimation is a submerging of my reason, so that I may lose my reason 
by the inordinate mixture of self-esteem, as we have said elsewhere on the 
subject of estimation. Against such estimations as these the best method of 
conservation is not to impose more on the reason than it can bear, which is 
the way in which such estimations are fulfilled. Here is another method of 
conservation. For instance, where we make false estimates of God, a subject 
which surpasses our reason, we betake ourselves to a homunculus directed 
towards the stars, which homunculus is of the same nature as ourselves, and 
so our speculation, which might corrupt us, passes to the homunculus. For 
there is no resistance to such speculations being fulfilled without loss, by a 
subdivision of the senses existing in me and in the homunculus, with a differ- 
ence of perfection and imperfection.- 

By means of estimations and imaginations many superstitions are ful- 
filled, which are not impressions, or incantations, or estimations, but simply 
superstitions capable of being understood by a similar example. I suppose 
myself imbued with the superstition that when I hear crows chatter on my roof 
I esteem it the sign of some one's death (there are many similar examples 
which need not be quoted). This superstition may make me ill myself, or kill 
my sick friend, the cause whereof I set down in my treatise on Superstitions. 
My method of conservation is this : that I regard such chattering as natural, 
and that it does not operate according to the foolish idea of men and of myself. 
By this means my superstition is destroyed, for it is rendered doubtful when I 
attribute it to my folly. Nothing destroys superstitions more thoroughly than 
considering them to be follies. Thus all harm is taken out of them. It is the 
consensus that leads to action, and this consensus is at once removed if I 
think of my own simplicity and the folly of such empty credulity. And this 
does not happen only in the case of crows, but with many other things, which 
it is not necessary, nor would be useful, to rehearse in a treatise on long life. 
Enough has been said on the subject of conservations. 

As to the fact of our being hard to understand, that happens only to those 
who understand neither us nor Nature herself. Yet is what we say of some 
moment. For those who do not understand us on the subject of long life, we 
decline to teach them more plainly. For those who have any depth, we are 
conscious that we have written of our processes at sufficient length, and have 
disclosed them with ample clearness. 

1 2 2 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Concerning the regimen of food and drink, we will only set down so 
much as bears on long life, reserving the rest to be treated in another place 
and by another method. First, it should be known that foods ought to be 
prepared according to a process, just as medicine, so that they may expel all 
the superfluities of humours which lie hid and grow in the body. These 
humours, by means of conservation through food and drink, are completely 
removed. Next, it is necessary to know that the cures of all internal diseases 
are accelerated and promoted by suitable medicines, and also by Quintessences. 
As to the origin of diseases and medicines, we say nothing about these matters 
here, because they are extant in many parts of our Physics. This only we say, 
that for a long life the following is the best regimen : moderate diet. We do 
not give this in detail, because it is well known to every physician. One thing 
we will add, that food ought to be separated from all its impurity, as we teach 
in our treatise on the separation of the elements. The use of such separated 
food with moderate diet exhibits a wonderful sustentation and conservation 
of life ; it restores the flesh and blood, so that no disease can do harm to the 
body through external foods, which is not the case with other foods and 
drinks. The use of such separation of foods for the foundation of a long life 
we set down for those who wish to live long ; and we do this for many 
reasons, not necessary to specify here. This we do afiirm here, that this is a 
regimen by which the complexions of the blood and the flesh are nourished. 
Nevertheless, conservation belongs to the vital spirit and its humour. Thus 
we believe we have said enough on the regimen necessary for a long life. 

We describe the separations of foods and drinks in the treatise in our 
Archidoxies on the Separations of the Elements, the pure from the impure. In 
like manner, in the book on Regimen, in the same place, we set down what 
may be best and most conveniently adopted for a long life. We do not repeat 
here what we have written at sufficient length elsewhere. 

What air, earth, and elements are best, we will indicate in the same manner. 
In the element of fire no watery disease can arise, and vice versa. So, in like 
manner, we must understand of the earth and the air. Whatever lives in the 
fire is free from other infirmities except those of fire. 

What has to be considered, then, and assumed necessarily for practice, is 
a certain desired equilibrium of elements, wherein long life consists. This is 
the work of wisdom alone, in which work are comprised the operations of the 
elements with the perfection of their forces, so that the fire shut up in man 
shall avail to take away all diseases, drive them out, and keep them at the 
greatest possible distance. We look upon this work of wisdom as another 
earthly Paradise, in which no disease could germinate or remain, no venomous 
animal could dwell or enter, and health could never be destroyed. This we 
could wish conceded to us by the Lord God, that we might write freely, without 
the contempt of idiots, what experience has taught us about this work of wisdom. 
But, on account of those idiots, one has patiently to hold one's tongue with 
regard to the miracles and marvels of that work of wisdom, wherein is 

A Book concerning Long Life. 123 

reserved the earth of the wise. Since, then, I must be silent about this, I 
determine to describe it only among my secrets, that it may remain buried 
within me, though without any end of life. 

Thus far have I written on the subject of Long Life for our own and other 
disciples who are endowed with a happy and subtle intelligence. 

Here ends the Book on Long Life. 


By Theophrastus, Philosopher and Physician, of Germany, called 
Paracelsus the Great. 

FIRST of all we must understand what Restoration and Renovation are ; 
what those things are which restore and renovate, and also what that 
is which can be renewed and restored in the creation of things. All 
minerals, indeed, are thus brought back to youth-, are renovated and restored, 
so that rusted iron can be again brought back to new iron, and the rust or flower 
of copper into its copper. So, likewise, minium can be brought into lead, and 
Saturn into Mercury (or, as others read, the calx of Jupiter into tin). In this 
place, therefore, renovation and restoration signify that process which brings 
back a destroyed, or rusted, or consumed substance to its youth and its 
perfect essence. But still this renovation which we have here introduced 
cannot be in any way compared to that restoration or renovation which we 
purpose to expound. For though rust and verdigris are not a metal, still none 
the less in their essence the essence of the metal has not yet perished or been 
consumed. So, then, that renovation cannot, in this place, be taken for an 
explanation of restoration and renovation, because in the human race such 
rustings and ablutions do not occur ; and hence it is that men do not require 
a renewal of this kind. 

In this manner, if a decrease be understood to happen to an old or decrepit 
man, like a kind of rust in his substance, then, in like manner, his body will 
be capable of being brought back from its state of decrepitude to youth, and 
there is a restoration from any kind of disease to health, but concerning this 
we have no desire to write at present. This, too, may be accounted a kind of 
restoration when out of salt, sulphur, and mercury a metal is made naturally. 
When this perfection is completed and brought to the actual metal, that metal 
may again return to its three primal elements, so that the salt, sulphur, and 
mercury again appear as they were at its first generation, insomuch that the 
metallic element altogether passes away, and there is no longer any metal 
present. So also it may happen that the matter of the three primal elements 
may return again to a metal as before, namely, if from the three primal 
elements of copper, copper be again made, and so on. This, too, in the case 

The Book concerning Renovation and Restoration. 125 

of metals is a restoration or renovation, when a kind of regeneration takes 
place from a metal previously complete into a metal again, perfect and com- 
plete. But that is not to be thought of as renovation or restoration if it be 
referred to man, because we cannot be brought back to our three primal 
elements, or reduced to our sperm, from which, again, we might be again reno- 
vated and restored, as in the case of metals quoted above. For then we 
should have the power of improving ourselves by a second generation better 
than the first was ; even as iron, which is reduced into its three primal ele- 
ments, and afterwards to silver or gold, and becomes incorruptible by this very 
process ; or as Saturn, which is again reduced to its mercury, is at length 
changed to an incorruptible metal. None otherwise should we, too, be able 
to produce or create from ourselves an incorruptible creature, whereas we have 
no power to do this. For we lack that primal matter,* and are unable to ^o 
back, so as to be constituted an irreducible mass, but we must progress as we 
have begun, and in no way are we able to recover or to possess that out of 
which we proceeded. 

Restoration, then, or renovation, is twofold. One, as applied to metals, 
we have introduced and made clear. Another, when an old picture is renewed 
with fresh colours, so that it appears recent and new as it had been before. 
But we must not, therefore, understand in this place that a new matter is made 
out of an old one, but that the old picture is so draped that it may appear new. 
Wherefore, again, this kind of restoration cannot be cited with reference to the 
restoration and renovation of man. But restoration and renovation must be 
understood in this way : that man's radical moisture, acting upon and ener- 
gizing the spirit of life, shall not be diminished or driven back, but rather shall 
be increased in its powers and pushed forward, as a tree to which aid is given 
for the production of its flowers and fruits, so that when these drop off and are 
done with others are again procreated as before. But, although the example 
here quoted does not in every detail illustrate our theory, nevertheless, it 
aifords the means for understanding how to promote the radical moisture of 
life just as we shewed in the case of the tree. We intend renovation and 
restoration to be understood thus : that they are not produced in the radical 
moisture,! but in that which is generated from the aforesaid moisture and de- 
rives its origin materially and corporeally therefrom. For as a bell made by 
fusion does not receive its sound from the tone, but from the body, so restora- 
tion or renovation does not receive its operation in the spirit of life, but in that 
which makes this same spirit ; that is to say, the one is material, the other 
substantial. But when all this substance in which the radical moisture is 

• It should be noted that while all things are constituted in the three prime principles, they cannot be separated 
without the destruction of the simple matter itself; for in separation the virtue of Mercury, of Sulphur, of Salt, vanishes 
and goes back into the first matter, as may be seen outside the Microcosm, Mercurj being transmuted into soot, 
Sulphur into oiliness. Salt into alkali, whence it is manifest that the first matter cannot pass into' the ultimate matter in 
the absence of a mcdmm.~C/iirursia Mngna^ Tract III., Lib. III. 

t For the conservation of the radical moisture in its proper quality a medicine is required which is also a material 
humidity, and while this is administered, no disease can be contracted. -De MorUs Metallicis, Lib. II., Tract 
IV., c. 5. In the same treatise alum is said to contain an elementary humidity against the fire of the Microcosm. 

126 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

present shall have been purified, its tone will be also improved, and the better 
the tone is the better the body will be. And when we say that the radical 
moisture proceeds from the body and the members, we understand it in this 
way, that the radical moisture itself, and that which proceeds from it, are just 
like the root and the tree, of which the one cannot live or subsist without the 

Equally must it be understood here that these two things are so intimately 
united and conjoined as to be incapable of being separated. The radical 
moisture and the spirit of life,* together with the moisture of life, are in bodies 
and in limbs, just as in metals is the tone, which is not seen, only heard. For the 
spirit of life and the radical moisture are truly in bodies. It would be idle, 
therefore, if we endeavoured to purify it or to renovate the body by its means ; 
but it is just that the body and the matter which are born and have their origin 
therewith should be restored and renewed. Hence, it may be gathered that 
restoration and renovation are transmutations of members existing super- 
fluously in the body ; so that all which proceeds from the body, and not from 
the radical moisture, falls away, and something new is born in its place, just 
as we perceive in a tree, from which all the leaves, the flowers, the fruits, and 
the fungi fall away, and are born again, yet the wood itself is in no respect 
changed, so as to fall away and be re-born, but it remains. So, too, does the 
radical moisture remain. This is the life in the body ; and when bodies 
reject from themselves hair, nails, teeth, and such things, these are presently 
re-born. This is restoration and renovation, whereby that very thing which 
should be restored and renovated is restored and renovated. For every re- 
storation and renovation occurs in superfluities, and in those things which have 
their origin and are born from the substance. By what method the body 
is able to be restored and renewed may be sufficiently understood from the 
demonstrations which we have made, and from the superfluities which do not 
form excrescences on material effects, as the hair, the teeth, the skin, and the 
nails ; but are in the body as something in excess, which are not absent from 
matter or corporeal substances, but remain in their essence as four complexions! 

* The spint of life is a spirit situated in all the members of the body, however they may be denominated indivi- 
dually. In all and each of these the said one spirit abides, and it is the sole virtue indifferently of them all. It is that 
highest and most noble grain whereby all the members have their life. But being extended and diffused it manifests in 
various ways, according to the variety of its seats. . . . Nevertheless, its potences are one. The virtues which 
sustain the bones are in no way feebler than those which nourish and fortify the heart, nor do they abound more in the 
brain than in the marrow, although the opposite may seem to be true. There is the same necessity of the marrow as of 
the brain, and the virtues of both are the same. A like law prevails through all the members. Some of them may 
appear to be of greater importance, but, nevertheless, one spirit of life is the moderator, virtue, power, and operation of 
them all. The spirit of life originates from outside causes or generations, not from those which are natural according to 
the flesh. While the generation of other things is twofold, that of the spirit is simple. -Z)^ K/r/^wj il/^/w^rt'rwff/. 
Lib. I., c. I. 

t Concerning the four complexions— cholera, blood, melancholy, and phlegm, we would by no means be identified 
with that opinion which asserts that they are or do derive from the stars or the elements. We do not regard this as 
true even in the least degree. The principle or beginning of cholera is from bitterness ; melancholy is acidity ; phlegm 
rises from sweetness for every sweet thing is cold and moist. Blood is from salt ; whatsoever is saline is sanguineous 
that is, warm and moist. The four complexions, therefore, are acidity, sweetness, bitterness, and saltness. If salt in 
any man predominate from the ens of the complexion, then is he sanguine ; if bitterness, then he is choleric ; if acidity, 
he is melancholic ; if sweetness, he is phlegmatic. Thus, therefore, the four complexions exist in the body as in a 
certain garden, wherein flourish amarissa, polypodium, vitriol, and salt nitre. And all these may coexist in the body, 
put so, nevertheless, that one alone will ~ Paramir/tm^ Tract III., c. lo. 

The Book concerning Renovation mid Restoration. 127 

(otherwise humours), whereof one proceeds from coldness and humidity, 
which is retained in the whole body, and is born, not having any special 
place, nor any beginning or initial point from whence it proceeds, as is proved 
concerning the four complexions. Another springs from the exact contraries 
of the former, namely, from heat and dryness, which, too, are similarly in the 
body and have no special abiding place or origin, and also produce liquid. The 
third is cold and dry, deriving its birth in the same way. The fourth is warm 
and moist, itself also proceeding as the others did. 

And here it must be noted as happening that these four humours* do not 
all exist in all bodies at all times, but sometimes one only, sometimes two, 
sometimes three, at other times four. Of them it must be remarked, too, that, 
in the process of renovation and restoration, they are consumed and expelled, 
for this reason, that Nature and the life of man are able to exist without them, 
and stand in no sort of need of them, since they exist only as superfluities, 
like the dregs in wine, or the froth flowing from it at the time of vintage. 

Concerning the four complexions thus displaying themselves in man, this, 
too, is to be noted : that these are not renovated or restored, because they 
spring from no one of the members, either greater or lesser. Neither are they 
in the blood, nor in the flesh, nor in anything like these. Nor, again, is it 
true that the sanguine complexion proceeds from a liver abounding in blood, 
or the melancholy from the spleen, the choleric from the gall, and the 
phlegmatic from the brain, and the like ; since the aforesaid members do not 
supply their complexion to man, but those complexions come at birth itself 
and last right up to death. These points we do not undertake to discuss in 
this place, because they are too remote from our text concerning renovation 
and restoration. 

Since, then, no one of the four complexions has its place or origin in the 
bodies we have spoken of, but exists in the spirit of life and in the radical 
moisture, complexions cannot be renewed or restored. But when the body 
shall have been clarified, their nature, too, shall be made clear. 

In like manner do we point out as foreign to our text the division of com- 
plexions according to age, region, and regimen, because no complexions are 
impressed on a body by these three. It may, indeed, happen that old age 
brings sadness to bodies, but this is not a complexion. In like manner, the 
dwelling place may induce phlegm, but the complexion is not on that account 
phlegmatic. Bile may make one acquire a yellow colour, which need not be 
discussed here since it is made clear when we treat of the Construction of the 
Body.f For a division of this kind a special phase of intelligence is required, 

* There are four humours contained in man— blood in the veins, moisture in the flesh, viscosity in the nerves, 
grease in the fat. These four have each their natural purpose. —Z>^ f'esie^ cum aifdiiionihts, Lib. II., Tract III. At 
the same time, the doctrine of the four humours as commonly expounded at his time was rejected by Paracelsus, 
because it wa-s a thing hard to believe, founded upon faith only, whereas medicine is established, not in faith but in 
sight, and nothing in such a matter should be accepted upon faith, except the diseases of the soul and eternal salvation. 
— Faramirum ^ Lib. I., c. I. 

t Paracelsus has a treatise on jaundice, which will be found in the first volme of the Geneva folio. As in so many 
9ther cases, there is no work which precisely corresponds by its title to that named in the text. 

128 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

since it must be remarked that they are not only humours, but sometimes 
minerals too, and sometimes corruptions, which all exist as superfluities con- 
trary to Nature and virtue. In like manner it must be said concerning the 
principal members which resist renovation and restoration, that is to say, in 
this way, that they do not perceive it, for they do not receive them into them- 
selves, but they take up everything that passes through them, and is prepared 
with them, just as they take up food,, not a medicament. But wherever by 
any chance humours or superfluities are produced in them, they would be 
expelled. So, also, of the other members, too, it must be equally understood, 
namely, of the bones, the marrows, the brain, the heart, the liver, the lungs, 
the kidneys, the spleen, the stomach, the intestines, the cartilages, the 
muscles. And of the blood, too, it should be known that corruption or super- 
fluity exists in it, though it be only an accident. And so equally of the flesh. 
This accident is, as it were, purged away in the process of renovation and 
restoration. Not, indeed, that another blood is produced, but that what is 
depraved is removed from it, and the good is preserved and predominates. 
The same judgment, too, is passed concerning the flesh. 

To explain briefly what are those things that can be restored and reno- 
vated : leprosy, falling sickness, mania, pustules, gout in the foot, or in the 
hand, or in the joints, and other like ailments are removed in renovation and 
restoration, unless, indeed, it be some disease taking its origin from birth. 
This will not be removed. 

But concerning leprosy, or any more severe disease which may exist, it is 
well to know that it undergoes transmutation in the body, not, indeed, that 
there is a separation of the pure from the impure, but that the leprosy is con- 
verted into health, as copper or iron are transmuted into gold. And no one 
ought to be staggered by this conversion, for renovation and restoration con- 
sume, none otherwise than fire in silver or in gold, its falsities and impurities, 
and leave it pure. In the same way the falling sickness and gout are taken 
away; for all things which are in the whole body are forthwith renewed, the 
blood and the flesh, with the other things which are embraced in it. For, as 
alkali purifies mercury into the very best silver, so also renovation and restora- 
tion transmute the body into a good essence, as has been said above. 

Renovation and restoration, then, expel whatever is superfluous and in- 
congruous with Nature in the body, and change all this which Nature does not 
want, or which was of no account, into something good. In this way it 
re-establishes everything and causes it to grow again, as we have said above, 
brings back the entire body to youth, and so on ; for this cause, that nothing 
can resist those things which are in the nature itself. 

And now we must see by what method the body is restored and reno- 
vated, namely, by the kindling of the renovating and restoring medicament, 
which it has in the spirit of life and in the radical moisture, by which kindling 
the operations are prescribed like the burning forces of a nettle. For who is 
so sagacious that he can investigate rightly forces of this kind when they do 

The Book concerning Renovation and Restoration. 129 

not appear to us in natural act, but are sensibly apprehended? In this way, 
also, renovation and restoration are accessions to Nature produced by forces 
which we cannot express. This, however, is openly known to us, that every 
visible thing is cleansed and purified with fire. Nature, indeed, demands that 
this one process shall be accomplished by fire, and that it shall not be possible 
by any other means. We understand, therefore, a two-fold fire, a material 
and an essential fire.* The material fire operates by flame ; the essential by 
means of the essence and the virtues, like cantharides, burning the skin and 
raising it in pimples as a very violent fire does ; yet still it is not fire, nor is 
felt as fire. A flame and a nettle produce the same effect, as we have often 

It is in like manner certain that renovation and restoration in this way 
accomplish their operations when they come into the body or are joined in 
union within it, because a like operation takes place thereupon as is the opera- 
tion of Saturn or Mars in Mercury, which are cast into the fire with their 
realgars, and although neither of them is warm or fiery, they are, nevertheless, 
burnt up like wood, and in the bottom the perfect metal is found which before 
appeared altogether leprous. 

And, again, who can altogether trace or investigate how it happens that 
when a migdalio has been powerfully liquefied by means of vitriol, it becomes 
copper, in all respects and throughout its entire substance like copper, though 
before it had no likeness to copper at all. None otherwise must renovation 
and restoration be thought of by us than that they accomplish their operations 
like lime, which is extinguished by water, and purifies itself, so that all its 
powers and acridities are taken away and removed by its essential fire. 

The renovation and restoration of our nature are none otherwise than in 
the case of the halcyon, which bird, indeed, is renewed in its own proper 
nature ; and many other like animals are found which have the power of doing 
this, of which we have made mention in diff'erent ways in our Archidoxies, and 
still more in our Secrets, f from which could be quoted more examples were 
they not too far removed from our text concerning renovation and restoration, 
where the demonstrations we make come to be understood equally in this 
place concerning renovation, while we say again and again that we cannot 
sufficiently know how the fire operates, though we see it consume the wood, 
because by its excessive heat it overcomes and consumes everything else. 
But, leaving this, let us betake ourselves in another direction. 

Since, then, we have spoken at sufficient length thus far concerning the 
beginning of renovation and restoration, let us now point out those things 
which do renovate and restore. We have, indeed, in our Archidoxies taught 

* Fire in its nature is four-fold, that is, the sun and moon govern one part in water, the second and the third, which 
are resident in air and earth, are ruled in like manner by the sun and moon, and there is hence conjoined in all creatures 
that magnetic virtue concerning which there must be nothing more openly spoken, for herein is the knowledge of the 
labour of Sophia, the mother and fountain of the Magi ; I have said.— Z)e PestUiKite, Tract II., s. v. De vi maptetica 
inumia in kotnine. 

t The reader of Paracelsus may not unreasonably be disposed to think that his secrets are synonymous with his whole 
philosophy. At any rate, there is no individual treatise under this title, 


130 The Hennetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

in writing how to prepare them, and entitled them with their proper names 
so that they may be known and marked. Now it is our intention to lay 
down the composition thereof, and first of all the processes. But while we 
teach concerning simples and arcana, it must be understood that their opera- 
tions are brought about in different ways. For some are found which 
violently purge leprosy by means of renovation and restoration, but beyond 
that touch no other disease ; yet, nevertheless, they are perfect in renovation 
and restoration. Beyond these, in the distinctions of these kinds of diseases, 
are the Quintessence, the Magistery, and the Element of Antimony, which 
purifies the body from leprosy, none otherwise than silver and gold liquefied 
therein, and in these it leaves no trace of impurity. 

In like manner the element of the sun and its quintessence, as also the oil 
of the same, and aurum potabile, take away leprosy, together with all 
diseases, renovate and restore. So also the quintessences of hellebore, of 
chelidony, of balm, of valerian, of saffron, of manna, and of betonia renovate 
the body, with the exception of those diseases which we have mentioned above, 
for these they in no wise diminish. 

The quintessence of pearls, too, or of unions, of smaragdines, sapphires, 
rubies, granates, jacinths, renovate also the body and bring it to entire 
perfection. They take away tartareous diseases, as the calculus, gravel, 
gout in the hands, feet, and joints, together with congelations and coagula- 
tions, and similar diseases which arise from tartar. So also the quintessence 
and magisteries of minerals and of liquids renovate and restore the whole 
body from any defect, and free it from the falling sickness, syncope, suffoca- 
tion, and all diseases which happen with a deprivation of the senses, such as 
mania, vitista, and the like. 

The magisteries and the essence of tartar and alkali also renovate the 
body with perfect restoration, take away all abscesses, and remedy the 
putrefactions and the grossness of the humours. 

In like manner, the essences, extractions, and magisteries of the greater 
drugs renovate and restore the whole body, take away fevers, both quotidian, 
quartan, chronic, and ephemeral. Likewise the first elements of the sub- 
margarites can renew and restore the v/hole body, and remove all diseases 
from women, with their accidents, and also render mankind fruitful, both 
the husband and the wife. The same arcana in like manner take away 
all long-standing and incurable diseases by renovation and restoration of the 
body to its highest powers. 

None otherwise, too, the quintessence extracted from balsam renovates 
and restores the body. It takes away pleurisies and pestilences by its 
admirable operations and power of perfection. Of this class, too, are many 
more things which are also enumerated elsewhere, of much greater virtue 
than can be attributed to them. 

In these matters, however, it must be understood that the compositions 
have to be carefully watched. For though there are many of them, still no 

, The Book concerning Renovation and Restoration. 131 

one suffices generally to cure all diseases by itself, but such diseases are to be 
expelled by the medicaments of renovation. Finally, therefore, we purpose 
to demonstrate the manner and the practice of our intention, though we may 
not set down all the processes, for this may not be necessary. He who 
understands us will perceive the drift of our writings. He who does 
not understand us is not capable of being taught by our writings, yet none 
the less we will set down all the processes in sufficient detail. In truth it 
would be a heavy task for us to write those things which have been written 
by many or are already known beforehand. This doctrine cannot be con- 
veyed better than by the first entity, in v/hich there is a singular nature for 
operating upon the body and transmuting its essence. For that first entity, 
indeed, is an imperfect compound predestined to a certain end and to 
corporeal matter. And because it is not perfect it is able to alter everything 
with which it has been incorporated as Mercury can, v/hich is like a primal 
imperfect entity, in respect of its own imperfection. Although this be 
determined and limited, nevertheless it is not changed from imperfection, but 
still it is limited thereby. 

Mercury, also, has the power of renovating the whole body because there 
is in it a powerfully laxative force, and an alterative as well, which cannot be 
sufficiently explored. Yet, nevertheless, it is as a v/hole imperfect and useless 
in its operation, because, so to say, it is mercury, and its first entity should not 
be predestined into another body. For such as it is itself, such is its perfec- 
tion. Nevertheless, we speak of a first entity, which is perfect for renovating 
and restoring the whole body, as is the first entity of gold, and for this reason, 
because it embraces altogether the spirit of gold and is most subtle, far more 
subtle, indeed, than the true body itself, that is, than gold. 

Hence, also, the first entity of the sun, or gold, is penetrable, even as 
mercury in metals, and does not contain within itself the spirit of salt, whereby 
it may be coagulated. For the spirit of salt coagulating the first entity takes 
so much power away that the gold becomes not by a hundredth part so power- 
ful in its effects as its first entity is. In the same way, generous wine 
coagulated by frost never again returns to its pristine power. 

Now, in order that we may speak and write perfectly concerning renova- 
and restoration, it should be known that the first essence, that is, the first 
composition of gold which exists as a liquid not yet coagulated, renovates and 
restores whatever it lays hold upon, not only man, but also all cattle, fruits, 
herbs, and trees. And this must be understood, just as of the universal form of 
any metal, which is endowed with far greater virtues than its own metal, 
seeing that there is in the mineral form the spirit of arsenic and salt of 
sulphur and of mercury, all of which are lost in the purgation of the metal, 
the said metal remaining in one essence alone. 

The very same thing is, in like manner, to be understood concerning the first 
entity of marchasites, as of antimony, which ought to be known no less than the 

first entity of gold. In the first entity of antimony, indeed, there exists such 


132 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

a virtue that of itself, by its own special nature, it transmutes everything 
of which it takes hold, none otherwise than antimony itself does by fire. For 
the virtue of that same separates from the body everything which is generated 
by the radical moisture, and altogether renovates the said body from its very 
foundation ; for its first entity becomes so fixed in that predestination that 
such an essence proceeds out of it, and goes forth from it as heat does from a 
fire. No otherwise must it be understood concerning the first entity of resins. 
The first entity of sulphur is an entire transmutation of the body into certain 
renovations and restorations ; and it is so vehement that it tinges all the first 
entities of metals into its own essence, takes away their operations, reduces 
them again to their first matter, and afterwards brings them to a perfect and 
new body. Indeed, the first entity produced from sulphur has such power over 
the body of man that it renovates all the radical humours in it, in all its places 
and parts. 

In like manner, also, may we speak concerning the first entities of gems, 
which, indeed, by their primal essence most powerfully reinstate the whole 
body in its pristine powers, cleanse it from all its impurities, and renovate and 
restore it none otherwise than the fire changes lead into purest glass. For the 
first entity of the emerald regenerates and renews itself since it exists from the 
first as a perfect body. So, too, green marble, which, from its own predestination, 
has such a nature that it renovates itself from all uncleanness and impurities, and 
coagulates a second time until it becomes pure. Sometimes it renews itself 
thus a third and a fourth time, and returns to its youth ; and the oftener it re- 
generates itself in this way, the purer and more enduring does it become. So 
far, then, as the virtues of first entities are known to me, these certainly far 
excel all the rest. 

So, also, concerning the first entities of salts it should be remarked that, 
like their spiritual virtues, they are by far greater than in their perfection. 
Thus, the first entity of vitriol transmutes all white metals into red, and over- 
comes and masters all the perfections comprehended in them. It renovates 
and restores all the imperfect bodies of the metals, as tin into its first entity, 
and again into tin, in which there are more virtues than in the original tin. 

In the same manner, it brings back to the radical moisture whatever pro- 
ceeds from those radical moistures, and renders that same renovation and 
restoration more perfect, more plentiful, and more full : for nothing else operates 
so powerfully on the radical moisture. 

In no way different are the first entities of herbs and trees, which, before 
they have received their body, that is, their stalk or trunk, are a thousand 
times more powerful than when incorporated. Even so, the first entity of 
balm renovates and restores the body far more powerfully than seems possible 
to be done in natural things. It should be known, that the halcyon is not 
thus renovated or restored by its own nature, but because its nature is such 
that it should be nourished and live on first entities in this way : When it eats 
the bodies of herbs, or of seeds and the like, its stomach, by digestion, reduces 

The Book concerning Renovation and Restoration. 133 

them to their first entity, and afterwards, by means of that first entity, it per- 
fects the operations of its own renovation and restoration. For its digestion 
was by Nature predestined only to first entities, whence it happens that it first 
of all transmutes all its food and drink into a first entity. On which account, 
also, it eats those bodies only which regenerate and restore, with which from the 
very time when it is hatched it is furnished and nourished by the parent-birds. 
In the meantime, this is its own nature, that after death it is renewed and 
restored ; on this account, forsooth, because all these first entities cannot have 
their progress in the bird whilst it lives, since the life of this bird takes away 
all the power of those entities by turning them into blood and flesh ; but when 
it is dead it flourishes according to the annual seasons ; and just as first entities 
put themselves forth in the earth, thus, in like manner, do they then put 
themselves forward in the bird itself, and so renovate and restore the dead 
flesh, which, indeed, in Nature itself is a wonderful argument for its powers 
and virtues. If these things did not lie open to our eyes, they would be in- 
credible, though they should be written down by many persons. From this 
cause, also, it happens that halcyons renovate themselves at irregular times, 
some sooner, some later, as they have earlier or later eaten the first entities ; 
for some are born and come forth sooner or later than others. Also many 
worms are renewed and restored for this reason, that they are fed and nourished 
on first entities while they are still imperfect in the earth. There are many 
marvellous things which are occult, and far more than are known or openly 
investigated, concerning which one could write more copiously, were they not 
too far removed from the text of a book on renovation and restoration. 

And although, as we have previously written, we cannot very well take 
first entities, or have them in the same essence ; still it is possible for us to do 
so. For if we know where the mineral of gold lies hid, we shall also find its 
first entity in the same place if we come before its perfection. For there are 
certain signs by which it may be known how the form of the metal is placed. 
So whilst it is in its first entity it makes trees fruitful, and renders fertile its 
foundation, that is, the earth. It renovates old trees which for twenty years 
have borne no fruits ; for when the first entity of gold has seized upon them, 
or upon their roots, they begin again to live and flourish as before. But 
although there are many more particulars concerning the first entity of gold 
which are worthy of our admiration besides those we describe, these suffice 
for a demonstration of the first entity of gold, namely, that it is there. 

But when flames and sparks are seen, then it must be inferred and noted 
that the metal is being produced out of its first entity, which metal has betaken 
itself to the process of coagulation. These are reckoned as signs concerning 
the origin of minerals which apply to gold, silver, or the other metals ; for 
the signs of the other first entities as to their origin are like those whereof we 
have spoken. 

When a sign of this kind has been seen or found it must be understood 
that this same first entity is not gathered up in one heap, as it is when it lies 

134 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings, of Paracelsus. 

in its perfection, but that it is spread over the whole of the land in that 
district. Wherefore, this land is in the power of the first entities, and out of 
it these are drawn, as it is with the celandine when it is not yet composited. 
Its first entity is in the earth, where it has its position. For this reason 
similar earth should be taken, and from this at length an extract should be 
made, as we have pointed out concerning the virtues of celandine. It must 
be noted that between the first entity and the perfection there is this difference, 
namely, that the first entity has power to renovate for the reasons before 
mentioned : but when perfected it has only the virtues of the natures, so that 
it tends in that direction, but not perfectly. Thus it may be gathered that if 
it be wished to have from these virtues of the same kind as those of the first 
entities, it is necessary that they should be removed from their coagulation, 
and should be corrupted, as is pointed out in arcana and quintessences. But 
that every thing has greater powers in its first entity, let not philosophers 
wonder, because even out of any earth in which a herb is produced essentially, 
before it is incorporated, all the virtues of that herb can be extracted, so that 
the virtues may be preserved and the earth be put back into its own place, so 
that for the future it shall be mere earth, and have no fruitfulness in it, because 
its first entity is taken away, which had lain hid in the earth. 

In this way it often happens that the power of a first entity of this 
kind may be enclosed in a glass, and be brought to such condition that the 
form of that herb grows of itself without any earth, and even when it has quite 
grown it has no body, but something shaped like a body, the cause of which 
is that it has no liquid of the earth. Hence it happens that its stem is nothing 
more than a mere apparition to the sight, because it can be again rubbed 
down to a juice by the finger, just like smoke, which shews a substantial 
form but is not perceptible by any sense of touch. In growing things of this 
kind the quintesssence is entirety incorrupt and in its highest state of perfec- 
tion, as in the earth. 

Wherefore, from the first entity of gold is produced, in this way, the 
finished gold, which to the touch is like red water, and is stirred up and 
exalted like gold. 

So far concerning these things. Now, let us next in order betake our- 
selves to the practice of those things which renovate and restore, if they be 
prepared by the power and rule of art. These things, although briefly written 
by us, are sufficiently patent, nevertheless, to intelligent men, that is to say, 
those who have good instruction in medicine and philosophy. 

First of all, then, must we know those things which renovate and restore, 
as we have pointed out, and their first entity must be extracted, and by that 
the work of renovation and restoration must be done. As a deduction from 
this argument we set down four mysteries, that is to say, of minerals, gems, 
herbs, and liquids, as follows : — 

The Book concerning Renovation and Restoration. 135 

The First Entity of Minerals. 

Take of mineral gold, or of antimony, very minutely ground, one pound, 
of circulated salt four pounds. Mix them together, and let them digest four 
months in horse-dung. Thence will be produced a water, whereof let the 
pure portion be separated from that which is impure. Coagulate this into a 
stone, which you will calcine with cenifiated wine, separate again, and dissolve 
upon marble. Let this water putrefy for a month, and thence will be produced 
a liquid in which are all the signs as in the first entity of gold or of antimony. 
Wherefore, with good reason, we call this the first entity of these things. In 
like manner, it will have to be understood concerning mercury and other 

The First Entity of Gems. 

Take of emeralds, well ground, 3Jm calcine them in dissolved salt 
until they be turned to a white colour. Afterwards let them be dissolved, and 
enclosed in a phial hermetically sealed, and placed over an open fire. Let the 
matter be suspended on high in a naked glass vessel, so that it shall not touch 
the bottom, and let this be continued until, from its spiritual nature and 
condition it falls down to the bottom into a body like the liquor of honey. This 
displays the virtues of the emerald. Wherefore, it may rightly be called the 
first entity of the emerald. 

The First Entity of Herbs. 
Take celandine or balm ; beat them into a pulse, shut them up in a glass 
vessel hermetically sealed, and place in horse dung to be digested for a month. 
Afterwards separate the pure from the impure, pour the pure into a glass 
vessel with dissolved salt, and let this, when closed, be exposed to the sun for 
a montb. When this period has elapsed, you will find at the bottom a thick 
liquid and the salt floating on the surface. When this is separated you will 
have the virtues of the balm or of the celandine, as they are in their first entity; 
and these are called, and really are, the first entities of the balm or of the 

The First Entity of Liquids. 

Take the mineral of sulphur and of dissolved salt; let them be completely 
resolved into water by themselves, which distil four times. First will ascend 
a certain whiteness which displays all the virtues of the first essence of 
sulphur. Therefore with good reason we can have it in the place of the first 
entity of sulphur, and so name it. 

Now that the four first entities have been thus described generally, it 
must be further remarked in what way they are to be utilised, so that their 
virtues may be perceived. This is the method. Let either of those first entities 
be put into good wine, in such quantity that it may be tinged therewith. Having 
done this, it is prepared for this regimen. Some of this wine must be drunk 
every day about dawn until first of all the nails fall off from the fingers, after- 

136 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

wards from the feet, then the hair and teeth, and, lastly, the skin be dried up 
and a new skin be produced. 

When all this is done that medicament or potion must be discontinued. 
And again, new nails, hair, and fresh teeth are produced, as well as the new 
skin, and all diseases of the body and mind pass away, as was declared above. 
Herewith we would conclude our little book on renovation and restoration. 

Here ends the Book concerning Renovation and Restoration. 


By the Great Theophrastus Paracelsus, Most Excellent Philosopher, 
AND Doctor of both Faculties. 

MANY have written concerning the quintessence of those things which 
either lie hid in the bowels of the earth or grow and sprout there- 
from, concerning the quintessence, namely, of metals, salts, saps, 
stones, trees, herbs, roots, quadrupeds, fishes, and other animals, etc. To 
few, however, has it been vouchsafed to point out the method or process 
whereby the quintessence can be extracted from the said things, so that a 
certain hope might, indeed, be left for the human race, not only that a certain 
quintessence of this kind resided in things, but also that the glorious and 
honourable body of man might become partaker of the same essential 
blessing. Wherefore, I am now about to teach in part, avoiding the method 
of those loquacious triflers, who merely threaten with railing, but do not 
strike. It has often been stated that an implanted quintessence inheres and 
dwells in all things ; but I shall, in addition, indicate how it is to be extracted, 
not only from metals, stones, salts, and saps, etc., but also from roots, herbs, 
animals, and all other things which have anywhere been formed by the 

All essential and created things contain in themselves water, oil, and 
salt ; hence it will be a matter of very great moment to separate the salt and 
the oil from the water. During the process of distillation the waters first 
appear, next the oils, lastly the salt. However, frequently the oil, the water, 
and the salt remain conjoined together. Thus, if juniper oil be extracted from 
berries in which salt is present, then the oil is separated by reason of its levity 
from the water, which is somewhat heavier. No one, notwithstanding, has 
hitherto succeeded in separating from it the salt, which is the most precious 
of all. Moreover, I am convinced that it is a true quintessence of juniper. 

Further, no fresh water proceeds from sulphur, but only oil. Yet, under 
that oil lie hidden salt and concealed water. Nor can it be properly designated 
oil unless the salt and the water have been previously removed and separated 

• This treatise is not included in the Geneva folio, and is derived from the Basle octavo of 1582. As the fourth 
book of the Archidoxies has already discussed at considerable length the subject of quintessences, and much further 
Information is scattered through previous books, there is no need for annotation at this point. 

138 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

from it. Moreover, oil and water are present in common salt, but it can not 
be properly designated salt until the water and the oil have been separated 
from it. 

In plants and things growing in the earth each has its own water, salt, 
and oil, yet in a distinct manner. Thus, the warmest things have the most 
salt, the coldest the most copious supply of water. The lukewarm contain 
equal proportions of oil, salt, and water ; each in its own grade and kind. 
Thus they differ from one another in colour, odour, and savour. Also the 
subtlest and purest spirits which are in these things are extracted, and justly 
and rightly deserve to be described as salutary to the life of man. 

Growing metals, as are gold, silver, iron, lead, tin, copper ; also arsenic, 
marcasite, lapis lazuli, rust of copper, green of the mountain, calamine, vitriol, 
are the first and chief. These are followed by gems, as the emerald, carbuncle, 
amethyst, which is also called pyrops, cyamus, hyacinth, which is also called 
chrysolite, corals (white and red), also pearls, etc. And, indeed, the last possess 
the highest virtues of them all, provided that they be duly prepared ; although 
in addition to the above-mentioned stones various stones are found, as tiles, 
wherein no small efficacy for preserving the health of the human race is 
discovered — alabaster, bolus armenus, and others. But before the rest we desire 
here to speak of the more excellent. In the third place, order demands the 
mention of vegetables growing out of the earth, as trees, shrubs, herbs, roots, 
and similar vegetables, their marrow, and other things under which both the saps 
and the liquors which proceed from growing things are comprehended. Thus, 
wine, various kinds of oil, as of olives, of nuts, of flax, of the berry of the laurel, 
of the nutmeg ; as also gums distilling out of trees, shrubs, and from the stalks 
of other vegetables, as Chian turpentine, myrrh, mastic ; also from the cherry 
and heliotrope, from the plum tree and the blackthorn, and others innumerable, 
each of which has been formed by the Creator of things for the profit and use 
of mankind. In the fourth place follow the animals, in which no small virtue 
and healthy operation lie hidden in many ways. Firstly, they are in the blood, 
which is most certainly the soul of every brute ; secondly, in the marrow or 
fat. Also, there is a force lying hidden in the flesh of animals provided with 
blood ; and equally in fishes, which have it not, from all which things the 
quintessence can be extracted to the unspeakably great advantage of man. 
Moreover, that I may at once shew by means of what things and methods this 
is effected, I will take the essence of the blood of a stork as an instance. This 
is a most excellent remedy against any poison which has been taken, a result 
which arises solely from sympathy and compassion. Moreover, the blood of 
man when distilled abounds in these powers, because if its essence be kindled, 
it burns without ceasing, as long as the man whose blood it was, lives, and is 
extinguished when he dies. If those great doctors do not hold it as a nigro- 
mantic exorcising, the cause will be that they do not understand the natures of 
these things. But there exists not a more excellent cordial than that which is 
extracted from pearls or margarites, which possess such marvellous powers that 

A Little Book concerning the Quintessence. 139 

by its means I could restore dying men who are already in the agony of death, 
revive them, and enable them to speak again. It has also given me no small 
aid in raising up and restoring a man both paralysed and convulsed, who (in the 
judgment of all the bystanders) was solely in God's hands. The man afterwards 
spoke, wrote, and begat children. Nor do the other gems possess less efficacy, 
yet each after their kind. Concerning herbs, roots, and the family of the same, 
there is no doubt that even with the doctors who follow Galen they possess 
unspeakably great power and efficacy. What shall I say with regard to the 
excrement of men and of other animals ? If so many virtues reside in this cast- 
away and refuse thing, how much greater virtues must dwell in the noblest 
metals, in gold, silver, antimony, etc. But how great a virtue must reside also in 
marcasite, since, without the addition of any other medium, it is a most salutary 
medicine and purge for all fistulas, for cancer, and similar ulcers ? I will say 
nothing here of vitriol, antimony, and other things which abound in virtues in 
no wise inferior to the former with reference to diseases of this kind, yet each 
according to its mode and genus. The same also is (perhaps the essence) of 
gold thus prepared, whereby I have frequently purged and cured an exceedingly 
foul leprosy and elephantiasis. I pass over the fact that I have cured gout of 
forty years' standing, contractions and relaxations (of the sinews) and other 
(ailments) by means of this and other adjuncts. Nor are marrows and fatnesses 
to be altogether rejected, especially that of a man, the badger, pigs, rams, bulls, 
stags, apes, and similar animals, living either in water, air, or land, none of 
which things has grown or has been formed except as a special boon (to man- 
kind), as is proved by the fact that the minutest Spanish flies, and the dung of 
the fiy and the moth, have their respective properties, all of which matters we 
have thoroughly enquired into, have examined completely, and have ascertained 
that nothing remains which has not received its powers and its virtues for the 
use and profit of man. But to approach our theme. 

Concerning the Quintessence out of Oil, also of the Salt of 


Take of the purest gold, reduced to minutest grains and lunated, or of 
gold calcined together with plumbago. Add to this 100 parts of the most 
excellent white wine discoverable, and 10 parts of the white pine. Leave 
them to be macerated in a glass for 40 days. Pour out the wine. Pour on 
the same quantity of fresh wine. Similarly macerate. Do this a third time. 
Pour these three relays of wine into a glass. Seal well, and distil in a strong 
fire, so that it may come forth strongly. When it has been distilled, place the 
glass with water (liquor) upon hot a:shes, being well sealed up with a blind 
alembic, the ashes being too hot for the fingers to bear. Let them stand 
under till nine parts are consumed or dried up, and the tenth part alone 
remains. Add the same quantity of the albumen of eggs to the water that 
remains. Shake together. Distil together, at first slowly ; when white water 
comes forth, separate this. Next distil more strongly until the bocia glows. 

140 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

and the matter comes forth in the form of a somewhat attenuated honey, of a 
strong (offensive) odour. Retain this, for this is the Quintessence of gold, 
the royal medicine. Place somewhat whitish and thick water in a glass. 
Cook until it be consumed. You will then find white and excellent salt. This 
is salt of the sun. However, the half of your gold will have gone, that is to 
say, the superior, which enters into the Quintessence. It is permissible to 
call this same essence the oil of the Sun. 

Concerning the Oil or Quintessence of Silver and its Salt. 

Take silver reduced to the thinnest filings. Cut them up into the smallest 
parts in the form of a denarius. Do the same with particles of cinnabar. 
Place together m a glass, layer by layer. Let the glass be half filled and per- 
fectly closed up. Then place it in a cupel for 30 days. Keep in a continuous 
fire. At last let it cool. It will then have extracted the soul or essence, and 
the silver will have been reduced to the form of a sponge. Purge the cinnabar 
with lead, and you will find the soul of silver in the residuum, and this is the 
most excellent silver that can anywhere be found. Reduce the said silver into 
the minutest grains, and pour on the strongest vmegar of wine. Let them 
stand in a glass, and the silver will become blue. Take away the blue and 
reserve it. Pour on other vinegar. Let it become a second time blue ; 
remove this again, repeating the process of adding blue matters till the silver 
be totally removed. If there were two ounces of silver, take one ounce of 
camphor. Let it be dissolved in the said blue silver and vinegar. Distil it as 
follows, at first slowly, then stronger and stronger, until the water commences 
to be tinged with a swarthy hue. Then remove the water from its receptacle, 
place and retain in another glass. After pressing the residuum through a bag, 
distil with a very strong fire from the faeces until the bocia glows, and you will 
find a quintessence in the glass, like a dark or coarse beer of somewhat 
caustic quality. This is that oil and quintessence of Luna. Cook the water 
retained until it be consumed (as in the case of the salt of the sun), and it will 
become a green salt, which is salt of silver. 

Oil of Mars. 
Pound up crocus of Mars into a most minute and delicate powder. Wash 
this with fresh water. Pour out the water of the lotion. Let it stand until it 
sinks. Then separate the water from that which sinks, and let the crocus be 
dried up. Take any quantity of this, and make a paste with the yolk of eggs. 
Let it be again thoroughly dried. At last beat it into a powder, and spread 
on a smooth glass slab. Place in a wine cellar, and it will be dissolved into a 
clear oil. This is the oil of Mars, suitable for all external ulcers. 

Oil of Saturn. 
Take viii. oz. of spume of silver. Beat and pound extremely small. 
Place in a jar, which must lean in the fire to the side, as cinders of lead are 
usually produced. Stir the spume with an iron spoon. When it is sufficiently 

A Little Book concerning the Quintessence. 141 

heated pour it out into an iron frying-pan. Let two measures of sharp and 
boiling vinegar be injected. The oil will then separate itself from the spume, 
when let the oil be again poured into the frying-pan. Let it be consumed 
until scarce one quarter of one measure remains. This oil has a marvellous 
sweetness. If you mix it with stale urine it will grow white like ceruse, and 
if it be boiled in an iron frying-pan it will subside and become like silver. 
Further, if a small quantity be placed in a vessel and it be left until it dries, 
there is produced from it a tenacious matter like thin (delicate) gluten. Let 
the matter which produces the oil be distilled through a well-sealed retort ; 
you will then have the pure and clear oil which is called the Quintessence of 

Oil and Salt of Jupiter. 

Let Jupiter be calcined in the following fashion : that is to say, let him 
be placed in a crucible and cooked by means of a secret fire, that is, by 
descent, for forty days. You will then have the powder which they call tin 
cinder. Take of this Jv., and of juice of lemons §lxv. Let these subside 
for the space of twenty days. Then wash away the ash. Afterwards wash 
the cinders. Pour on it again the said juice of lemons. Do this a third time. 
Afterwards let these be distilled, and let them be poured again over the 
cinder. Let them once more subside twenty days as before. Finally let them 
be distilled through the alembic, until at length pure water comes forth. If 
you perceive its colour to be red, apply a strong fire. The water which first 
comes forth is to be thrown away ; there will next issue a water mixed with 
oil, which is to be separated. You must then rectify the oil in the heat of the 
sun, and this is the oil of Jupiter. The second water is to be diminished by 
boiling to the tenth part. This you next allow to subside until it commences 
to have rays of such an extremely beautiful green colour as to almost surpass 
the colour of the emerald, and this is the salt of Jupiter, which also I judge as 
the spirit of Jupiter. 

Of the Quintessence of Antimony. 

This is the most excellent and most sweet matter of all things which has 
ever existed ; it also excels all things proceding from Art or Nature. I 
except potable gold, because it is surpassed by the quintessence of our Stone, 
which not unfittingly but truly, we call by its true name, the Stone of the 
Philosophers. Take, therefore, antimony, which breaks into long and sharp 
grains which glow. Let it be pounded and sifted until it becomes a powder 
most thin and most subtle. Let this be imbibed in strong and good wine for 
thirty days. Let the vessel be well closed. But notice that for a pound of 
antimony there must be taken two measures of wine. Let these be put in 
the sun ; afterwards let them be distilled in a fire, slow at first, then 
stronger, until at last the water coming forth commences to redden. Then 
bring out another receptacle. Keep the water, having sealed it up well in the 
vessel, sufficiently long to permit it to subside. Then, within the space of 

142 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

nine or ten days, something black will appear at the bottom, from which take 
the water which swims above it, and for every § v. let there be taken an ounce and 
a half of carline thistle cut up small. Let these again be distilled together. The 
other water, which is also red, needs in distillation a strong fire so that the 
lid may glow, whereupon you will see upon the water a red oil, which must 
be separated from it. In this manner is produced juniper oil. Each must be 
kept in a separate place. Also in this way are extracted those three waters 
out of antimony, which contain in themselves the Quintessence. The process 
for extracting it is as follows : While these three species of waters are sub- 
siding during the period of 30 da)'S, you will find something earthy at the 
bottom of the glass vessel, just as was done previously with the first water. 
Then let the waters be strained, and the clear separated from the turbid ; the 
former are to be retained, the latter rejected. Afterwards let them be distilled 
in the first grade of the fire only for 30 days, among cinders, until the matter 
be coagulated and become a hard stone, like to granite in colour. Let the 
stone be beaten up and dissolved in distilled vinegar ; afterwards let these be 
distilled through the alembic. The water which comes forth is to be placed 
in a glass vessel over cinders in the second grade of the fire. You will then 
find a red stone like tospinetum, and this is the quintessence of antimony. 
It was never previously known that it was useful to humanity, but it cures all 
leprosies and removes all fistulas, also the French disease ; indeed, all the 
incurable diseases of that type, as also all pellicles and small specks in the 
eyes. It is neither bitter nor acrid, but has a sweet savour; its consistency is 
like oil, its colour that of red wine. It is the special cure of dropsy, for it 
quickly consumes (removes) the dropsy if the patient take the quantity of 
one pea of this medicine in the water of violets. It also heals paralysis, 
apoplexy, and epilepsy, if with three drops of potable gold the quantity of one 
■third part of a scruple be taken, for this stone is dissolved therein. Lest it 
should perish, it must be kept in dry places, and preserved in seed of millet ; 
for if it be placed in humid situations it corrupts in four months' time. 

Concerning Oil and Salt out of Marcasite. 
Pound as subtly as possible such marcasite as is found on the mountains. 
Pour over it strong wine ; then, in order that it may overflow, let it be stirred 
with a stick daily, and after three days let the wine be poured out, fresh 
being added. Let this be done until to lolb. of marcasite an addition has 
been made of 20 measures. Let the wine strained or poured out be distilled 
with marcasite until water issues forthj which water is to be retained. Next 
close the aperture of the tube in the glass vessel, in an effectual manner, with 
lute. Apply a somewhat fierce fire, so that the matter in the upper part of the 
cucurbite, which resembles pure silver, may attach itself to the sides. Keep 
this and cast away the dross. Afterwards diminish it by boiling, so that a 
single measure only may remain. Put the white matter, which was in the 
upper part of the cucurbite, previously well pounded over a stone, into a 

A Little Book concerning the Quintessence. 143 

cellar, and beneath let there be placed a small vessel into which oil flows. This 
is a most excellent remedy against fistula, cancer, and other diseases of this 
kind. That is called the quintessence which is extracted from immature 
metal. However, again distil the water cooked in this manner. Diminish it 
by boiling till half has departed, that is to say, till half remains. Let this 
subside for the space of 30 days. Throw into it straws and pieces of wood 
cut small, upon which there will collect a salt like to crystal, except as regards 
colour, which is slightly green. And thus you have oil and salt out of 
marcasite, which two are by no means the smallest aids to the preservation 
of the life of the human race and its health. 

Oil out of Common Salt. 

The confection of oil out of salt is not a useless and unproductive labour, 
since that wherewith it is prepared possesses the greatest diversity in nature 
from it, not so much in point of provocation of thirst, and removal of putre- 
faction, as of sweetness of savour. For oil painlessly eats into and consumes 
in a single hour all things whatsoever which are smeared therewith, and are 
putrid by nature, whether it comes in contact with them in wounds or other 
injuries. On the other hand, salt nourishes whatever is putrid, and prevents 
its consumption, and is sharp. Moreover, salt excites thirst, whereas oil 
repels it, as may testify several subjects of dropsy, who, having taken some, 
were free from thirst between nine and ten days. Lastly, as regards the 
savour, the oil is not sharp as the salt, but forcibly reminds one of the 
sweetness of honey, or of the juice of wild apples. 

Oil and Salt of Coral, also of Crystal. 
Crystals of the first quality are found in the Helvetic Alps. Let these be 
reduced by pounding to the smallest powder, over which let there be poured 
the juice of lemons ; let them be put into a cucurbite with a narrow neck on hot 
cinders as deep as the matter which is in the glass. Let them subside for 40 
days. Then the crystals will be dissolved, and from them is produced a gross 
water. Add to these vinegar, equal in quantity to the juice ; let them subside 
for 20 days again. Afterwards let there be added musk, which is good, in 
order that the matter may further ascend ; then let all be distilled in a well- 
closed glass vessel. All the water which issues forth must be retained, for no 
oil comes out, and care must be taken lest the fire be too fierce, otherwise the 
matter would be burnt up. Next cook the water until half be consumed, and 
distil until it acquires a gold colour. Afterwards pour it out and distil it in a 
strong fire until there comes forth pure water of a yellow hue. But if it be 
turbid let it be preserved apart, and that which is coarse (gross) is to be 
distilled in a glowing cucurbite, wherein, while it cooks, you will find a yellow 
oil swimming on the surface of the water. This is the quintessence of crystal. 
Collect all the waters, the white, also the yellow, and that which comes out 
last, into a glass vessel. Put thereupon small and thin straws of the length 

144 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

of a finger. Seal up the glass vessel well, place in a cellar, and leave it for 
40 days. Then upon the said straws there will grow a matter having rays 
like salt nitre. Dry these, and you will then have salt of crystal of a 
marvellous nature, virtue, and efficacy. 

Oil and Salt of Pearls. 

Arabian pearls, and those which are fetched from India, are among others 
the best. They require to be purged with pure and warm water ; next to be 
dissolved in vinegar nine times distilled. You will be able to renew the 
vinegar every three days ; pour out into a glass vessel, well sealed up, and 
keep therein. And if they be altogether consumed and dissolved, the vinegar 
must be abstracted by means of distillation : that which remains at the bottom 
must be again dissolved into vinegar, and again distilled as before. Then a 
portion of the pearls or margarites will distil. Keep the distilled water until 
nothing remains of the pearls. Add to one measure of the same water half 
an ounce of camphor, which is of so great a virtue that it will not suffer any 
dross, but renders that which is earthy and heavy light and volatile, so that it 
can ascend. These are to be distilled again, and the vinegar consumed by 
boiling to the twentieth part. This must be done in an open glass vessel 
having a large and wide mouth. Let the remainder be distilled through the 
alembic until pure water flows. When this has commenced to turn yellow put 
another glass vessel beneath. Subject it to a fire which increases in 
vehemence, and then there will proceed a gross matter resembling thin honey. 
This is the quintessence of pearls, a true crown of human life. But salt is 
confected from the water which precedes the yellow colour. Let that be 
cooked until it becomes a salt. This salt is beautiful, white, and soft, yielding 
the sweetness of camphor. 

Of the Essence and Salt of Things growing on the Earth. 

There exists no better method of extracting the essence of herbs and 
roots than to cut them up as small as possible and boil them in strong wine 
in a jar, well closed, lest any of the spirits should evaporate. Let the wine be 
separated by frequent straining. Also let fresh be poured in again until they 
lose their strength. Then no further process is needed except to collect all 
the wines and distil them together through the alembic. This can be done as 
frequently as you desire, but the aperture of the glass vessel must be 
effectually sealed up. It is then necessary to wait until the virtue which 
resides in the wine, and circulates throughout the vessel, collects into one 
place, for the smaller the quantity of the essence of these things, the better 
and more subtle the quality. But when at length the waters have boiled after 
the first and second distillation, salt is discovered at the bottom. Note, how- 
ever, that in order to the extraction of oil from most herbs it is requisite that 
both herbs and roots be distilled. But in the case of those which are fat, their 
leaves alone, when exposed to the sun in a glass vessel, yield an oil, whence 

A Little Book concerning the Quintessence. 145 

ultimately a quintessence can be extracted, and in the same manner also a 
salt. Wherefore it is impossible to assign to each herb its peculiar operation. 
Nevertheless, we shall distinguish between those which have oil in them 
spontaneously, and distil it of their own accord, for instance, nutmegs, the 
rind of a species of quinces, or golden apples, and the like. Eggs, nutmegs, 
berries of the laurel, and similar fruits must be melted up and roasted a little 
in a frying-pan over the fire, so that they may acquire a savour of burning. 
Afterwards press out the oil. This method of extracting is simple child's 
play, but there exists scope for skill in extracting from that oil something j'et 
more subtle : just as no small art is required to extract oil from cinnamon, 
ginger, cloves, and the like, in which the method is quite dissimilar to the 
above. Indeed, these are distilled through the pores like juniper oil. 
Consequently, the same amount is not extracted from these as from other 
matters, although they be more excellent, whereas the berries of the laurel, 
nutmegs (they are also called myristicce), and similar things out of which an 
oil proceeds without any process, as aforesaid, yield a larger supply than those 
things which are light and tender, or are even pressed. 

The Method of Separating Oil and Salt from Oil of Olives. 

Oil which proceeds out of olives also contains salt, Jhough not of special 
quality. It is extracted more abundantly out of old oil than out of fresh. 
Out of this is produced a red water, which, marvellous to say, is a most 
speedy remedy for the stone, whereas it is manifest that no oil contains an 
aqueous humidity, nor is of such a nature as to break the stone. Wherefore 
let those who exclaim "How can this or that be done?" speak with more 
deliberation and modesty. They bring forward the argument that it is con- 
trary to its nature and property, but they totally ignore the fact that cooking 
involves so great an alteration as to frequently effect what otherwise lies not 
in the essence or nature of a thing. Similarly, our silver, although it be not 
gold, is reduced to such an extent by coction as to arrive at the most excellent 
gold. Thus also iron is converted into genuine and most excellent copper. 
The matter of which we are here speaking takes place in the same way. 

That Red Water out of Oil of Olives is made in a similar Way. 

Take lb. iiij. of oil. Place in a kettle of copper. Heat it so that it may 
commence to smoke ; let it cool again, and put in a bocia. Close up its neck 
most effectually with a sponge. Superimpose a helm well stopped up with lute, 
lest any vapour should escape. Distil the matter in a slow fire ; at length the 
virtue begins to issue forth. The fire is to be maintained at an equal tempe- 
rature — not at one moment hot, and at another cold. The water will then become 
red. If it commence to thicken in the upper part of the receiver, it is neces- 
sary to cease operation and proceed no further. And this is the water which 
is extracted out of oil. It cannot long be kept entire by reason of the putrid 
nature it contains in itself. Notwithstanding, it dissolves in a moment, as it 

146 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

were, the stone in the bladder. For nine days daily let three spoonfuls be 
administered, one in the morning, one at noon, and one in the evening. After 
this the patient must fast a whole hour. The savour of this water is nauseous, 
and frequently affects a man so much as to give him a headache. 

Salt is made in the following Fashion. 

Distil oil out of which the red water has been made ; abstract it through 
the alembic by means of a moderate fire, and if it flow in excess, remove the 
fire. If it cannot endure great heat you will find turbid matter at the bottom 
of the bocia. This is to be removed into a small glass vessel. There must be 
added to it as much pure fountain water as there is matter. The oil will then 
float on the top, and must be separated from the water, in which there is no 
fatness. Distil it again and you will have pure water, which must be cooked 
in a glass vessel until it be consumed. You will then discover at the bottom a 
somewhat black salt, most suitable for purging ; it is also a strong laxative. 

Method of Extracting the Oil and Salt from Pepper. 

Beat the grains to a fine powder. Add thereto the sap of the alder, suffi- 
cient to cover the powder. Let it settle, exposed to a very hot sun, as during 
the dog-days, for nine days. Afterwards press through a bag. When the water 
has been distilled pour it again upon the faeces, and let it settle for nine days. 
Next, when the water commences to recover colour, let it be removed. Put 
out another vessel in the place of the first. Extract the oil with a strong fire. 
If any water has been mingled with it, it must be separated by means of a glass 
funnel. The last water must be added to the first, and again distilled, and 
consumed, till but a quarter remains, by coction. Let this settle for 30 days 
in a glass vessel well secured over a capella. A salt will then be found at the 
bottom, possessing the savour of pepper, most excellent as a pickle for food, 
by reason of the extremely excellent odour it yields. It is wonderfully hot, 
and adapted for cold limbs and nerves. 

Oil out of Gums. 

Take myrrh, mastic, and gum, or like things, which must be pure and 
clear. Let them be pounded and sprinkled over fresh eggs, which have 
been cooked hard, split through the middle, and placed in sand in a pan, 
which must be put in a cellar until the powders are dissolved into oil. This 
cures all wounds and alleviates gout. A man's face is rendered fair if it be 
anointed therewith after a bath. In like manner it preserves the flesh from 
putrefaction so that the same can never ensue. 

Preparation of Colocynth. 

Take an apple of colocynth and remove all the seeds. Cut them up small. 
Let marrow be taken to the weight of three coins of Ravenspurg. Let it be 
placed in a glass vessel. Add thereto of 

A Little Book concerning the Quintessence. 147 

The weight of three coins 
of Ravenspurg. 






Pound them all together and place in the glass vessel where the colocynth was 
put. Pour over five tablespoonfuls of good wine. Let it settle for eight hours. 
If you desire to use it, it must be prepared about twelve o'clock, mid-day, and 
must be taken at night. It is next necessary to lie down, then purgation will 
commence at midnight, or at one o'clock. Note, before taking this medicine, 
that it must be pressed through the bag, and it must be eaten. But be care- 
ful not to press it out too violently. Take only that which penetrates by itself, 
so to speak, spontaneously, about seven or eight drops, lest it become too 
violent. When, therefore, the purgation has occurred several times, take, 
about seven o'clock in the morning, some soup wherein peas have been cooked, 
but which contains neither salt nor butter, only a slight admixture of flesh. 
Take it as hot as can be borne, for two hours, without anything else being 

Here ends the Book concerning the Quintessence. 



THE third fundamental part, or pillar, of true medicine, is Alchemy. Unless 
the physician be perfectly acquainted with, and experienced in, this art, 
everything that he devotes to the rest of his art will be vain and useless. 
Nature is so keen and subtle in her operations that she cannot be dealt with 
except by a sublime and accurate mode of treatment. She brings nothing to 
the light that is at once perfect in itself, but leaves it to be perfected by man. 
This method of perfection is called Alchemy. For the Alchemist is a baker, in 
that he bakes bread ; a Vv^ine merchant, seeing that he prepares wine ; a 
weaver, because he produces cloths. So, whatever is poured forth from the 
bosom of Nature, he who adapts it to that purpose for which it is destined is 
an Alchemist. Hence you may understand the difference between this art and 
all others, from the comparison which has been set before you. For, consider, 
if any one should put on a rough sheep's skin for garment, how rude and 
coarse this vi'ould be compared with the work of the furrier and clothier. 
Equally rude and coarse would it be if one had anything taken straight from 
Nature, and did not prepare it. Nay, this would be much more rude than the 
former. For this is concerned with the body itself, its life and health. Hence 
it has to be handled and dealt with much more carefully. Now, these universal 
methods of treatment have rivalled Nature, and have so mastered her pro- 
perties that they can express the nature itself in everything, and elicit that 

* This treatise constitutes the third section of the Liber Paragranum, wherein are described the four columns 
upon which Paracelsus built his system of Medicine. These are Philosophy, Astronomy, Alchemy, and Rectitude. The 
first distinguishes between the false and adulterated philosophy of Aristotle, and that sure and genuine species 
expounded by Theophrastus himself. The latter alone enlarges that knowledge whereby the physician is instructed in 
the matter of all diseases. There is no other way by which the truth concerning the body of man and its nature can 
possibly be estimated. Outside it there is only pure imposture. Disease itself is of Nature, Nature alone understands 
and knows disease, and Nature also is the sole medicine of disease. The matter out of which man is made testifies to 
the physicians concerning that which is produced therefrom. Man, as the exemplar and type of all things, contains 
within himself all knowledge and wisdom which are required in Medicine. There are two species of philosophy— one is 
of heaven, the other of earth. The philosopher is he who is acquainted with the things of the lower sphere- the 
astronomer, on the other hand, is he who is familiar with the things of the sphere above. In their medical aspect 
philosophy is concerned with the earth and water in man, and astronomy with the air and fire which exist in the same 
subject. For man is heaven, air, water, earth. As there is a Zodiac in heaven, so is there a Zodiac in man ; as there is 
a firmament in heaven, so is there a firmament in the body. Man has his father in heaven and in the air. He is the 
son, made and born from air and the firmament. Heaven operates in us. This operation can be understood by no one 
who is ignorant of the essence and nature of heaven. The star is the basis of celestial knowledge ; he who is 
acquainted therewith is already the disciple of Medicine, and is on the way to understand the heaven in man. So far 
concerning the first two pillars of Medicine. But the fourth is the probity of the physician, which consists in the 
certitude of his art, and the rectitude and sincerity of his faith in God, which forbids him to falsify anything, and 
makes him a fulfiUer of the works of God, 

Alchemy, the Third Column of Medicine. 1 49 

which is the chief feature in each. But in Medicine, where it is most specially 
necessary, this power exists in the smallest degree ; so that, in this respect, 
Medicine is most rude and unpolished. How can man be more rude than when 
he eats raw flesh, clothes himself in undressed hides, and has his dwelling in 
the nearest rocks, or is exposed to the rains ? In the same way, how can a 
physician be more dense, or the preparation of medicine than v/hat ointment- 
sellers use for decocting substances ?* Nothing can be more objectionable than 
this method for pounding, subduing, and mixing medicines, or for polluting 
them in any other difi"erent way. As its own special art dresses the hide, so 
so does its own special art prepare the medicament. And since, in this place, 
the true basis of preparing remedies, in which lies the whole essence of 
medicine, is laid down and established, be well assured of this, that such a 
foundation must be extracted from the most secret recesses of Nature, and not 
from the imaginative brain, as a cook dresses a mess of pottage, according to 
his own judgment. For in this preparation the extreme and ultimate condition 
of things is posited. Thus, if philosophy and astrology — that is, the nature of 
diseases and their remedies, with all their combinations and conjunctions— be 
understood, it follows next in order, and is chiefly necessary, that you should 
decide how you will use and avail yourself of your knowledge. Nature, indeed, 
of herself teaches you on these subjects, and you should give her your chief 
attention in order that you may reduce your medical science down to practice. 
As summer puts forth the pears and the grapes, so should you do with your 
medicine. If you act thus you will assuredly compass the results you covet. 
And if it so be that as summer puts forth its fruits, so you do with your 
medicine, be certain that summer does this by means of the stars, and in no 
case without their aid. Now, if the stars accomplish this, take care so to 
regulate your preparation in this case also that it shall be duly directed by the 
stars. These it is which complete and perfect the work of the physician. Now, 
if the stars have this effect, it is right that medicine should be understood, and 
naturalised in all respects, with reference to them. Let it not be said ; This is 
cold, this warm, this moist, this dry; but rather let it be said : This is Saturn, 
this Mars, this Venus, this the Pole-star. In such a way the physician proceeds 
by a straight road, especially if, beyond this, he also knows how to subject, 
conjoin, and harmonise the astral Mars with that which is produced from it. 
For here is situated the covering or nucleus which none of the physicians from 
first to last before me has ever arrived at. This must be understood, that 
medicine should be prepared with reference to the stars, so that they exert their 
astral influences. The higher stars weaken and cause death, but they also heal. 
If any of these eflfects is to be produced, it cannot be done without the stars. 
But if this is to be done by the help of the stars, it will be done after such a 
manner, and in such a way, that the preparation will be reduced to practice, 
so that medicine will be compounded and prepared by means of heaven, just 

* The text .at this point is unintelligible, a-s the comparison is not completed. It has been rendered literally in 

150 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

as prophecies and other acts are settled by heaven. That is, you see, that the 
stars presage and prognosticate unfavourable weather, that they foretell 
diseases, and the deaths of kings and princes ; the stars, moreover, portend 
battles and wars, pestilences, and famine. All these things are indicated by 
heaven. It makes and produces them. What it produces it naturally predicts. 
All these effects come from this source, and from it, too, proceed all the 
branches of this science. So, then, if they are produced by heaven, and come 
from heaven, they will also be governed by heaven, so that all those matters 
which have been mentioned and pointed out will be produced at its will and 
pleasure. The occurrences which have been predicted from heaven come to 
pass at its pleasure ; so that heaven produces and regulates them. Moreover, 
lay this well to heart.' If Medicine is from heaven, without any contradiction 
it will remain subject to heaven, will accommodate itself thereto, and be 
regulated according to its will and pleasure. Now, if this be true, it is abso- 
lutely necessary that the physician should form an opinion concerning degrees 
and complexions, humours and qualities, and, whether he will or not, he must 
learn that Medicine is in the stars ; that is, he must judge the nature of 
Medicine according to the stars, so that he shall understand the superior as 
well as the inferior stars. Since Medicine is worthless ■ save in so far as it is 
from heaven, it is necessary that it shall be derived from heaven.* And this 
bringing down from heaven means neither more nor less than the abolition 
and elimination of every earthly element which exists in it. Heaven does not 
rule it except these earthly elements be separated from it. If you have effected 
this separation, then Medicine is in the power of the stars, and. is ruled and 
protected by them. For instance, everything relating to the brain is led down 
to the brain by means of Luna. What relates to the spleen flows thither by 
means of Saturn ; all that refers to the heart is carried thither by means of 
Sol. So, too, the kidneys are governed by Venus, the liver by Jiipiter, the 
bile by Mars. And not only with reference to these, but in all other respects, 
this must be, in an ineffable manner, perceived. For of what use is the 
medicine which you exhibit for the matrix of a woman unless it be directed by 
Venus ? What remedy would there be for the brain unless Luna gave it its 
origin? So judge with regard to the rest. Otherwise all remedies would 
remain in the bowels, and by-and-bye, being ejected through the intestines, 
would produce no effect whatever. Thence it happens that, if heaven does 
not aid your efforts, but refuses to direct your medicaments, you will profit 
very little. There is need of heaven as the regulator. Herein consists true 

* The stars, therefore, have generated physicians constituted in the light of Nature, so that they might not deviate 
from investigating by their own sltill the various arts. The first source of their discoveries was in the stars and 
influences, which, turned into alchemy, in no slight degree enriched the medical art. For alchemy is but a medical 
pyrotechny, whereby marvellous preparations, transmutations, transubstantiations, etc., of thing^medical are artificially 
produced. For such is the affinity of the firmament ot the constellation with the nature of terrestrial bodies, that he 
who is informed with celestial doctrine is not debarred from the desire of the knowledge of terrestrial things, and when 
these are combined there isjoined to them an influence from heaven, and so out of those three, thus united, there arises 
the true physician. A physician generated after this manner will never lack those remedies which suddenly become 
necessary for a pressing purpose. —C/;/r«r^frt ^/rt^wd, Pars II., Tract I., c. 16. , ■' 

Alchemy, the Third Column of Medicine. 1 5 1 

art, that you should not speak after this fashion : " Melissa is a herb that acts 
on the matrix, marjoram on the head." Thus speak the inexperienced. The 
matter rests with Venus and Luna. If you wish to attain the ends you antici- 
pate you must have heaven kindly and benignant to you, otherwise no effect 
will be produced. This is, the source of that error which is so abundant in 
medicine. " Do you at least drink it. If it does you good it does, and there 
is an end of it." Any clown can practise this art. There is no need of an 
Avicenna or a Galen for it. You physicians, who have sprung from them, are 
wont to say that we must have directories for the head, the brain, the 
liver, etc. And how can you dare to lay down these directories when you 
understand nothing about heaven ? That is the sole director. Moreover, you 
forget one thing, which convicts you all of folly. You have, indeed, found 
out what things direct the brain, the matrix, the anua, the head, the bladder, 
etc. ; but of what things rule disease you are utterly ignorant. Now, if you do 
not know what rules a disease, you are ignorant as to where the disease is 
situated. You do just the same with the principal parts which you say are 
affected as the sacrificers do with their gods. They put the whole of them in 
heaven, although very many of them lie buried in the infernal regions. So, 
according to you, all diseases arise from the liver or the lungs, though some- 
times they affect the rectum. 

This is because heaven rules by means of the stars, but not so the 
physician. So medicine must be reduced to air, that it may readily be ruled 
by the stars. Can a stone be lifted up by the stars ? No, unless it be 
volatilised. Hence it is that many, by means of Alchemy, hunt after a fifth 
essence ; which means nothing else than that the four bodies shall be separated 
from the arcana. Then, what remains is an arcanum. This arcanum, more- 
over, is a chaos, as easy to be deduced from the stars as a feather to be swayed 
by the wind. Such, then, should be the preparation of medicine, that the four 
bodies shall be taken from their arcana. To this should be added the know- 
ledge as to what star is in any arcanum. Then it must be known what is the 
star of this disease, and what is the star in medicine that operates against this 
disease. Hence, at length, proceeds a direction. If you drink a medicament, 
then the belly, which is your alchemist, is compelled to prepare this for you. 
But if the belly can reduce the medicament to such a condition that it is received 
by the stars, then that medicament is directed. If not, it remains in the belly 
and passes off with the excrement. Now, what, I ask, is more worthy of a 
physician than a knowledge of the concordance existing between each star ? 
In this consists a knowledge of all diseases. In this respect Alchemy is an ex- 
ternal bowel, which prepares its own sphere for the star. It is not, as some 
madly assert, that Alchemy makes gold and silver. Its special work is this — 
To make arcana, and direct these to disease. To this it must come, and here it is 
symmetrical. For all these things proceed from the guidance of Nature, and 
with its sanction. So ought Nature and man to be conjoined, brought together, 
and estimated one by the other. The whole principle of cure and sanitation rests 

152 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

in this. Alchemy perfects all these processes ; and without it not one of them 
can exist.* 

Now if all arcana belong to Medicine, and all medicines are arcana, and, 
moreover, all arcana are volatile, by what right, I ask, can that sausage-stuffer 
and that sordid concocter of the pharmacopoeia give himself out as a dispenser 
and a veritable concocter ? In undisguised truth he is a dispenser and con- 
cocter, but of mere trumpery. How great is the folly of those doctors who 
trick people by means of such clownish concocters with their electuaries, 
syrups, pills, and ointments, which are based on no foundation, or art, or 
medicine, or knowledge ! Not one of you, if put on your oath, would dare to 
examine what works conscientiously and truly. The same, too, is the 
principle of your Uroscopy. From the urine you divine as to the blue sky, and 
you persist so strongly in your trifling as to confess that there is nothing but 
divination and conjecture in the whole matter, nor any coincidence except 
what occasionally happens by chance. In your surgeries you lie so consum- 
mately, and with your washings and your decoctions you assume such a 
magisterial air, that nobody could think otherwise than that the whole 
kingdom of heaven is affected by you, whereas you conceal nothing save the 
mere bottomless pit of the infernal regions. If you would put aside these 
your incapacities, and would examine arcana, what they are, what director 
they have, and how the stars rule disease and health, then at the same time 
you would learn that your whole foundation amounted to nothing but 
phantasy and private opinion. The ultimate and sole proposition is that the 
principle of medicine consists of these arcana, and that arcana form the basis 
of a physician. Now, if the sum total of the matter lies in arcana, it follows 

* Thirdly and lastly, there is alchemy, wherein the physician should eminently excel. For if he does not thence 
take his preparation, his practice is nothing worth. Herein consists all the art of preparation. It is also the art which 
teaches how to separate the stars from the bodies, so that those stars obey the stars and firmament in direction, for the 
direction is not in the bodies, but only in the firmament. Hence it also follows that everything which the brain produces 
is a sign to the Moon through its course ; that which the spleen produces Satiu-n attracts to himself; that which the 
heart produces is attracted by the Sun ; and in this manner the e.xternal firmaments are the directors of the interior. 
So do they speak wrongly who say that Melissa is good for the matrix and sage for the cerebrum. For unless Venus and 
Luna direct them thither, they sink into the stomach and pass out through the intestines. Therefore that which does 
not separate in medicine is not directed by heaven, that is to say, the course of heaven is absent, and so nothing operates. 
So has every part its director from stars, and they are called stars. But heaven directs nothing except that which is 
separated from the body— that is, heaven directs only the arcanum, not the body itself; just as it directs reason to man 
and then reason directs the body - so heaven directs substances, which, if they be in the stomach are cooked therein, and 
then it directs one thing-that is, the arcanum. The stomach, indeed, is an alchemist, that is, one who fulfils the 
function of alchemy ; but this takes place much more usefully without, before the substance sinks into the stomach, for 
then its operation will be much more powerful. Unless this be done, it will be like raw flesh, which the stomach digests 
much more thoroughly if it be assimilated after cooking. But if so much care be required over the preparation of food, 
how far more is necessary in the case of medicine. Many have despised alchemy as a senseless search after the 
confection of gold and silver, but it is not our intention to giveamore prolix definition here. I havedecided only todeal with 
the preparation - that is to say, how much virtue and efficacy there is in medicine which is devoid of a body. He, 
therefore, who contemns alchemy, herein despises that which he does not understand. ' Although I know well enough 
that not even apothecaries, barbers, and servants about the baths, will cease from their cookings ; nevertheless, if you 
double the faith which you at present have in your medicines, the congeries of your recipes sufficiently proves that you 
are nothing but fools. It is evident enough whom ye cure, how, where, and when. Since, therefore, I am decided thus 
lastly, to teach of alchemy, which is itself the fountain and pillar of medicine, it must be stated that without this art no 
one can be a physician, for he who lacks it has the same relation to a physician as his own cook has to that of the 
prince. All Nature therefore recognises alchemy, and desires that it should be understood by the physici.™, and that 
the same, being skilled therein, should not ever be cooking soups and Qo\^\vox\.. - Fragincntn Medjca. 

Alchemy, the Third Cohcnin of Medicine. 153 

that the foundation of all is Alchemy, by which arcana are prepared.* Know, 
therefore, that it is arcana alone which are strength and virtues. They are, 
moreover, volatile substances, without bodies ; they are a chaos, clear, 
pellucid, and in the power of a star. If you know the star, and know the 
disease, then you clearly understand who is your guide, and wherein your 
power consists. So, then, these arcana prove thai there is nothing in your 
humours, qualities, and complexions, that such terms as melancholy, phlegma, 
cholera, and the rest, are falsely imported into the question, and that in place; 
of these should be introduced Mars and Saturn, so that you should say, " This 
is the arcanum of Mars, this of Saturn." In these, true Physic consists. Who 
of you, my hearers, will venture to reject and turn away from this foundation ? 
Only your teachers do this : and in this respect they are like the old and case- 
hardened students. 

If, then, it be right for the physician to know such things as these, it will 
also be convenient that he should ascertain the meaning of calcination and 
sublimation. And he should not only know this as a matter of handicraft, but 
as one of transmutation, which is far more important. For by these methods, 
as they are met with in preparation, there are very often produced such 
maturations as not even Nature herself is able to bring about. Towards this 
maturation the physician should direct his art. It is the autumn, the summer, 
and the star of those things which he ought to bring to perfection. Fire is 
the earth ; man is the order ; and the thing operated upon is the seed. And, 
although all these things are simply understood in the world, they are in 
result various and manifold. So also are they manifold in the locahty of the 
result. And yet by our process all arcana are born and produced in the fire. 
That fire is their earth ; and this earth is also a sun ; and so the earth and the 
firmament, in this second generation, are one and the same. In this the 
arcana are decocted ; in this they are fermented. And as the seed in the earth 
putrefies before it is reborn, and fructifies, so here also in the fire a dissolution 
takes place, wherein the arcana are fermented, lose their bodies, and, by means 
of ascension, go off into their exaltations, the times of which are calcination, 
sublimation, reverberation, solution, etc. ; and, secondly, into reiteration, that 
is, into transplantation. Now, all these operations take place by means of 
motion, which is given by the time. For there is one time of the external 
world, and another of man. But the operation, or force, of the celestial 
motion is truly marvellous. And, although the artificer may be disposed to 
rate highly both himself and his work, still here is the sum of the matter, that 
heaven, in an equally wonderful way, decocts, digests, imbibes, dissolves, and 
reverberates, while the alchemist does the same. The motion of heaven, too, 
teaches the motion and regimen of the fire in the Athanor. .So also the virtue 
which is in the sapphire, heaven draws forth and discloses by means of solution, 

* Alchemy indeed brings forth many eicellent and sublime arcana to the light, which have been accidentally 
discovered rather than sought for. Wherefore let alchemy be great and venerable in the sight of everyone, for many 
arcana are in tartar, in juniper, in melissa, in tincture, in vitriol, in salt, in alum, in Luna and in Sol. — De Cndiicis, 
Par. IV. 

154 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

coagulation, and fixation. Now, if by these three methods the heaven is thus 
constituted in its operations, whilst it reduces them to this point, it necessarily 
follows that the solution of the sapphire shall also, in like manner, be made up 
of these three points. The solution is of this nature, that bodies are thereby 
excluded and the arcanum remains. For, hitherto, while the sapphire 
remained entire, there was no arcanum. But afterwards, analogously to the 
life in man, so this arcanum has been infused by heaven into this matter. 
Therefore, the body, which impedes the arcanum, has to be removed, For, as 
nothing is produced or begotten from the seed, unless it be dissolved, which 
dissolution is nothing but a putrefaction of the body, not of the arcanum itself, 
so, in this case, is it with the body of the sapphire, save in so far that it has 
received an arcanum. But now its dissolution is brought about through the 
same processes which caused its previous coalescence. The seed corn in the 
field has no little experience of the industry ot Nature during its own progress 
to the corn-ear. For there is an elixir, and a most consummate fermentation, 
which is retained in Nature beyond all other places. Afterwards follows 
digestion ; and hence begins increase of the substance itself. Whoever wishes 
to become such a natural originator must gain his end in this way. Other- 
wise, he will be a mere cook, or scullion, or dish-washer. For Nature 
demands that in all respects the same preparation shall take place in man as 
in herself ; that is, that we shall follow her as our guide and not the follies of 
our own brain. But you, doctors and ointment-sellers, what do you ferment, 
or putrefy, or digest, or exalt? Nothing, save when you make up some 
medley of sauces which you serve out and shamefully palm oif upon people. 
Who can praise a physician when he has not learnt the method and principle 
of Nature ? Who will trust him ? The physician should be nothing but the 
skilled advocate of Nature, who, in the very first place, knows its being, pro- 
perties, and condition. If he is thus ignorant about the composition of 
Nature, what, I conjure you, can he know of its dissolution ? Understand 
that dissolution is a kind of retrogression. Whatever things Nature has 
gradually formed by composition, those things you ought to be able to dis- 
solve by a reverse process. As long as you or I shall be inexperienced in, 
and ignorant of, this solution, so long, at all events, we shall act the part of 
robbers, murderers, rascals, or simple novices. 

What, I would ask, can you produce from alum, in which are latent as 
many arcana for diseases of the body as for wounds ? According to your 
method of proceeding, who ever, by following the pharmacopoeists, applied it 
to that use in which it is chiefly powerful ? The same may be said of mumia 
as of alum. Where will you seek it ? Beyond the ocean, among the heathen ? 
O, you simpletons, who fetch from afar what is before your very houses, and 
within your city walls ! Because you are ignorant of Alchemy, you are on 
that account ignorant also of Nature.* Have you persuaded yourselves that, 

* I also assign the greatest weight to experience, as most helpful in the attainment of a proposed end, especially 
in alchemy, by which things unheard of, and indeed scarcely credible, are produced, whence also fertile science and 

Alchemy, the Third Column of Medicine. 155 

because you disparage Avicenna, and Savonarola, and Valescus, and Vigo, that 
you are as capable as these men ? These are mere trifles. Apart from this 
arcanum, nobody can inquire into the true composition of anything in Nature. 
Bring together into one spot all your doctors and writers, and tell me what 
corals contain, and what they can do. However much you may chatter, and 
whatever blatant nonsense you may talk about their powers, directly you 
begin to reduce it to practice, it is proved that you have not one particle of 
experience or of knowledge about corals. This is the reason why the process 
of the arcanum has never been handed down in writing. But if the process is 
accomplished, then its virtue is ready to hand. So great is your simplicity, 
however, that most of you think everything consists in pounding, and that it 
suffices if you write : " Let these things be strained and mixed. Make a pow- 
der with sugar." What Pliny and Dioscorides wrote about herbs they did 
not prove by experience, but gathered from the famous authors who knew 
many such matters, and then they filled many books with their feminine chatter. 
Dare to make the experiment for yourselves whether what they hand down is 
true. Will you never be able to reach the goal of experiment and proof ? What 
do Hermes and Archelaus say about vitriol ? They mention its vast virtues, 
indeed ; and these are present in it, but you are ignorant what powers are in 
it, whether the green or the blue. Can you be masters of natural things and 
not know this ? What you know, you have read, indeed, but you profit nothing 
and do no good by it. What do the alchemists and other philosophers teach 
about the potencies of mercury ? Their teaching is copious, indeed, and full 
of truth. That you know truly, but how it is to be verified you know not. 
Cease, then, to shout. In this respect your academies and yourselves are 
novices and mere tyros. You skim overall these matters in your reading, and 
you say, " This property is in one thing, that in another ; one is black, another 
is green. God is my witness, I know no more. So I find it written." So, 
unless it had been thus written, you would have known nothing about it. Do 
you think that I am wrong in laying and fixing my foundation in the Alchemical 
Art ?* This reveals to me what is true, and that you are unskilled in proving 
the truth. Is not such art worthy to come into the light ? And is not that 
deservedly termed the foundation of Medicine, which proves, augments, and 
establishes the knowledge of the physician ? But what is to be thought of 

notable experience are gathered in the light of Nature. I could state on oath that from such experience the greatest 
and most notable fundamental principle in medicine has arisen. Who without it will ever be a physician, or know 
and understand anything ?—jC*' Cu(/wc;>, Par. III. 

* We assume no person will doubt that the chemical art has been devised to supply the deficiencies of Nature ; for 
although Nature supplies very many most excellent remedies, she has, notwithstanding, produced some which are imperfect 
and crude ; for the perfection of these a separation must be effected, by which the pure is setfreefrom the impure,so that 
it may at last fully manifest its powers. We desire the surgeon to be versed in this art, without which he does not 
indeed deserve his name. The preparation of medicaments is of great importance, so that they may be brought to their 
highest grade of action. God does not will that medicines should ready too easily at hand ; He has created the 
remedies, but has ruled that they should be prepared by ourselves. The chemical art must not therefore be repudiated 
by the surgeon. As long as physicians are content with the preparations of the pharmacists, they will never 
accomplish anything worthy of praise. Furthermore, the alchemists themselves, despite the excellence of their 
remedies, will find their operations barren until the arts of medicine and chemistry are completely united. - Clm-ur^ia 
Magnn, Tract II., c. o. 

156 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

your judgment when you say " Serapion, Mesne, Rhasis, Pliny, Dioscorides, 
Macer, report about verbena, that it is useful for this or that purpose " ? You 
cannot prove that what you say is true. What sort of a judgment can even 
you yourselves think this ? Be yourselves the umpire : Is he not more powerful 
who is able to prove that true which is within ? And this you cannot do 
without the aid of Alchemy. Even though you should read and know twice 
as much as you do, all your knowledge would be of no avail. Let any 
one read my work, and then how can be have the face to make it a charge 
against me that I lay these things before you and explain them to you ? You 
do not reduce to action those powers and virtues which you parade and boast 
that you possess. Answer me : if the magnet fails to attract, what is the cause 
of the failure ? If hellebore fails to make you vomit, why is this so ? You 
know what causes purging and vomiting ; but what are the arcana of healing 
just now spoken of? In this matter you are the very brother of Ignorance. 
Tell me in whom confidence should be placed as to the operations and 
powers of natural things ? In those who have only written about such things 
without ever having tried or used them, or in those who have put them to the 
proof, though they may not have written about them ? Is it not a matter of 
fact that Pliny has proved none of his assertions ? Where, then, is the use of 
his statements ? What has he heard from the Alchemists ? And if you know 
nothing of these you can be at best but a travelling quack-doctor. 

If, then, it be of such vast importance that Alchemy shall be thoroughly 
understood in Medicine, the reason of this importance arises from the great 
latent virtue which resides in natural things, which also can lie open to none, 
save in so far as they are revealed by Alchemy.* Otherwise, it is just as if one 
should see a tree in winter and not recognise it, or be ignorant what was in it 
until summer puts forth, one after another, now branches, now flowers, now 
fruits, and whatever else appertains to it. So in these matters there is a 
latent virtue which is occult to men in general. And unless a man learns and 
makes proof of these things, which can only be done by an Alchemist, just as 
by the summer, it is not possible that he can investigate the subject in any 
other way. 

Now, seeing that the Alchemist thus brings forth what is latent in Nature, 
you should know that there is one kind of virtue in the twigs, another in the 
leaves, another in the unripe fruit, and yet another in the fruit when ripe ; and 
that the difference between these is so palpable that the later fruit of a tree is 
altogether unlike the earlier, and this not only in form but in virtues. Whence 
the knowledge should be of such a kind that it shall extend from the first to 
the last. This is Nature. And since Nature thus manifests herself, so also 
does the Alchemist when dealing with those matters which Nature defines for 

* 1 include Chemla in the circle of medical perfection for many reasons. It supplies true simples, magnalia, 
arcana, mysteries, virtues, powers, all things which pertain to the science of remedies, much more perfectly than 
ordinary pharmacy. But you object that alchemy is universally unpopular. I ask for kind words. Other arts also— 
astronomy and philosophy— are contemned, but are not the more imperfect for <iVK.—Fyng;n:iiln Mcdica. 

Alchemy, the Third Column of Medicine. 157 

him. For instance, the genestum keeps the process of its own nature in the 
hand of the Alchemist. So does thyme, with its flower, and the rest. One 
thing does not contain a single virtue, but several. You see this in flowers. 
They have not one single colour, and yet they are in one thing, and are them- 
selves one thing ; and every colour is severally graduated to perfection. So 
is it with the different virtues which are latent in these things. Now the 
alchemy of colours is so to separate Art and Nature, that this separation shall 
extend not only to the colours, but to the virtues. As often as a transmuta- 
tion of colours takes place, so often occurs a transinutation of virtues also. 
In sulphur, there is yellowness, whiteness, redness, darkness, and blackness. 
In each colour there is a special power and virtue ; and other substances 
which possess these same colours have not the same, but different, virtues 
lying hid in these colours. And there is a latent knowledge of colours just as 
there are latent colours, and a latent cognition of virtues, as there are latent 
virtues. And the manifestation of virtues is the same as in form and colours, 
where are first the twigs, then the pith, afterwards fronds, flowers, and leaves, 
then the beginning of fruits, then their mid-period, and, lastly, their full 
development. If the virtues ripen by a gradual process of this kind, and thus 
increase, then the indwelling virtues are changed in degrees and in number 
every day, nay, every minute. For as time and not matter gives its purgative 
effect to the elder, so that same time confers its powers on other virtues, some 
in one way, and some in another. As time again assigns styptic powers to 
the acacias, which do not naturally arise from time, and as is the case with 
other wild growths, so time also in this case imparts the middle virtues before, 
the final term. For these signs or intervals must be carefully noted in 
Alchemy, on account of the knowledge as to the true end of operations, and 
of the autumnal period by which the time of mature or immature virtue is 
defined ; and the same is carefully attended to in Medicine. So, also, these 
ripenings are divided into buds, fronds, flowers, pith, liquids, leaves, fruits ; 
and in each of these are their own proper beginnings, mid-periods, and ends, 
divided into three ways or principles, namely, into laxatives, styptics, and 
arcana. Those things which loosen and constrict are not arcana. And none 
of these is conducted at once to the final end, but they exist in the primary 
and middle virtues. How evident is this illustration in the case of vitriol, 
which is now everywhere very well known to all, and the virtues whereof are 
especially patent. Now, I propose in this place not to obscure its virtue, but 
to unfold and manifest it more widely. First of all, then, vitriol puts forth its 
laxative virtue, being the chief of all laxatives, and possessing the greatest 
power for the removal of obstructions. There is not in the body any member, 
external or internal, which is not penetrated and affected by it. This effect 
arises from the first time. The second time gives it a constrictive power. 
As powerfully does it now constrict as in the beginning of the first period it 
loosened. And still its arcanum is not yet at hand, nor have buds, fronds, 
and flowers burst forth. If it has sped to fronds, what is more effectual in the 

158 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

falling sickness ? If it proceeds to flowers, what is more penetrating ? It is 
like an odour which most readily diffuses itself on all sides. If it issues forth 
in its fruits, what is more excellent for promoting heat ? And there are many 
other qualities in it, reckoned by its appropriate periods. At all events, so 
much we have endeavoured to explain, how the arcana in any one thing 
separate into many parts, and each part is borne on to its own special period, 
and that, moreover, the limit of periods in things is an arcanum. 

So in the first transmutation of tartar ; what excels this arcanum in cases 
of itch and scab, or other similarly disagreeable affections ? In its second 
period, what is more effectual for the removal of obstructions— not in the way 
of a mere laxative ? What, at length, is more powerful in the healing of 
wounds? Now, it is Alchemy which opens and manifests these qualities. 
Then, why not raise the foundation of Medicine hereupon ?* Learn from this, 
at all events, and dismiss these dirty ointment-vending quacks, who do not 
know this process, but, together with their teachers, are double-dyed asses, and 
so mad as to presume to think everything of this kind false and impossible. 
They are so ignorant and experienced that they have not learnt even the be- 
ginning of a decoction, and yet health and safety for the sick are to be sought 
from such men as these. What else do you find in them but desire for money 
and thirst for goods ? It is all the same to them whether their medicines do 
good or harm, whether they remove or increase diseases. Is it not right, then, 
that ignorance of this kind should be publicly revealed ? I do not adopt this 
course from any hope that they will imitate me. They will feel no shame on this 
account ; but rather hatred and envy will so take possession of them that they 
will persevere in their ignorance. Yet, notwithstanding, whoever wishes to 
pursue truth alone, will turn aside to my monarchy, and not to any other. 

Mark, I beseech you, my readers and hearers, what a wretched and dis- 
torted process is adopted in the falling sickness, not so much by the ancients 
as by those writers who are contemporary with me ; and this to such an extent 
that they are scarcely able to rescue or to cure a single patient. Do I act 
unjustly when I despise such writers and such teachers, who demand, as a 
matter of right, that people should use their remedies, though they are not of 
the smallest power ? On the other hand, if any one investigates another method, 
by which help can be given to patients, they call him a vagabond, a chatterer, 
and a fool. What is rather true is that their ptescriptions, like their diagnoses in 
the case of falling sickness and other diseases, are mere lies. This is proved 
by results. The patients themselves bear witness to it, while the nature of 
thmgs cries out and proves the foundation on which Medicine must be built up. 
No one disease can they heal by a well considered and consistent system of 

* If, therefore, it be the part of the physician to cure, and the foundation must be taken from the four things 
named above, how sh^^U he conclude? By alchemy alone. What is alchemy ? That which prepares Medicine, making 
a pure and precious remedy, exhibiting it perfect and entire, whereby the knowledge of the physician is completed. 
If such then be Medicine, and the knowledge of the physician must be acquired in this manner, how, I say, dare those 
square and knotty doctors and masters, without forfeiting their honour, blame me because I do not deal with trifles, but 
with truth itself, that I may establish science more fundamentally and exactly, for they adhere to their antiquity. — 
Fragmenta Medica, 

Alchemy, the Third Column of Medicine. 159 

Medicine, since God does not call and choose such uncertain and erratic men 
to be physicians, but rather well assured and experienced men. If He supplies 
an assured and experienced husbandman or quarryman, much more will He 
give a physician who is certain about his art and confirmed in its practice, 
since on him rests more responsibility than on all other men. But they call 
the foundation itself doubtful, and place it in the hand of God. So, then, the 
hand of God is stretched like a veil over their imposture and ignorance ; and 
they justify themselves, but accuse God, when they say that their art, indeed, 
is perfect, but that God interrupts it and stands in its way. What is impiety 
and imposture, if not this ? But see by what unshaken argument I will estab- 
lish Alchemy as the foundation of Medicine. I base it on this : that the most 
severe of all diseases, such as apoplexy, paralysis, lethargy, the falling sickness, 
mania, frenzy, melancholia or gloom, and other similar ones, can be cured by no 
concoctions of the ointment-sellers. As meat cannot be boiled with snow, so 
much less can this kind of medicine be brought to any successful issue by the 
art of the drug compounders. For as the magistery of each several substance is 
that to which it specially looks, so it should be noted of these diseases that they 
have particular arcana. Hence, they require special preparations. What I say 
of these special preparations I would have to be understood in the sense that 
particular arcana require particular adminstrations, and different administra- 
tions in like manner demand different preparations.* Now, in the surgeries 
there is no other preparation beyond some kind of kneading and decoction, 
such as one would see in a cookshop. By this kind of cooking the arcana 
themselves are stifled and result in no energy whatever. Nature must be kept 
under proper restraint and management. Thus, you see, there is one kind of 
preparation required for bread, another for meat, and so on. In the same way 
is it with herbs. By parity of reasoning it should be inferred that Nature never 
mixes up in disorderly confusion foods, drinks, meats, and breads in one mass, 
but deals with each separately and by itself. Now, this arises from no trifling 
causes, though to recount those causes here would be a work of unnecessary 
labour. Now, if Nature admonishes us hereby that in all things due order is to be 
kept, we are also in another way warned by the same mistress how to prepare 
medicines, and how to adapt the several medicines to their special diseases. 
The thirsty liver demands wine or water. But think how often wine is pre- 

* If the seed, that is to say, the matter, be present, it requires preparation. But it is prepared by nothing save 
alchemy. This is not that which teaches cooking and preparation, which Nature has instituted for the benefit of man. 
Thus, Nature is acquainted with many virtues in S. John's wort, but for every virtue there is another preparation. 
Nature orders this to alchemy, saying, as it were : Prepare for one disease thus, and for another after another manner. 
Then arises the physician, and is famed in the medical art, for he knows the foundation, he knows also what cooking or 
preparation is here needed. But for what purpose do ye scintillate, ye men of Montpelier, of Leipsic, or of Vienna? 
Ye must turn hither, hither, ye who would know what is philosophy, and what is alchemy, what preparations Nature 
institutes, and by what methods she instructs her alchemists. Where, then, h ill ye remain, ye apothecaries and sordid 
cooks ? For it is a shame and disgrace that your whole business is nothing but sheer fancy and wickedness, opposed to 
the whole art of Medicine. Strange, if all this become publicly known, that is to say, how many tortures are hidden in 
your golden gallipots and in your solemn concoctions - how great will be the measure of your opprobrium ! Vet the 
matter must be completely brought into the light. But though you multiply scorpions in my food, the venom will only 
operate in yourselves, and not in me, and will overflow your wily and mendacious designs, and will break your own 
necks, not mine.— »«^w««/*r. MedUa- 

1 60 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

pared,, and, as it were, reborn, before it satisfies the thirst of the liver. In 
like manner, the bowels require food. Here, too, notice how variously the 
food is changed and prepared. Believe it to be the same with diseases. Now, 
if you are going to undertake a pure and artistic method of cure, you will make 
no difference^ but act just as if apoplexy were a thirst for which there was need 
of a particular medicine and a special preparation thereof. Or suppose that the 
bowel is falling, and that it requires for its restoration another preparation, 
and one which acts on the stomach. Imagine, again, that mania is like the 
spermatic vessels, and demands that its necessities shall be supplied by other 
methods. So you will come to the same conclusion as to medicines and their 
preparation in cases of mania. I admonish you, then, with due cause, that if 
you have chanced to meet with eifectual remedies and arcana against diseases, 
you should not let them be tampered with and wasted by these mere decocters. 
Are these things not to be brought into the light .'' Truly, indeed, they are, 
in order that such errors may be avoided, and patients may advance to those 
sure arcana which God has designed for their use and requirement. You will 
gather from hence how necessary it is to act on my prescription rather than on 
yours. In this respect you have to follow me, not I to follow you. Though 
you fulminate ever so much against me, nevertheless, my monarchy shall stand, 
while yours goes to destruction. It is not in vain that I write at such length 
concerning Alchemy, but I do it with this purpose and for this end, that you 
may well and surely know what is latent therein, and how it should be under- 
stood. Nor should you be offended hereby because you get no gold or silver 
by it. Rather its result should be that by means thereof arcana shall be 
unveiled, and the seductions of the ointment-sellers shall be brought to light, 
since by these the ignorant folk are deceived, while they sell them for a florin 
what they v/ould not buy back for a penny. So precious, in this sense, are 
their secrets ! 

Who will deny that even in the very best things a poison may lie hid ? All 
must acknowledge this. And if this be true, I would now ask you whether it 
it not right that the poison should be separated from what is good and useful, 
that the good should be taken and the evil left. Such should certainly be the 
case. If so, tell me how it is separated in your surgeries. With you all these 
elements remain mixed. See your own simplicity, then, if you are forced to 
confess that a poison lies hid, and are asked how it is to be got rid of. 
Then you bring forward I know not what correctives, which shall drive out 
and take away the poison. Comfrey, for example, they use to correct scam- 
mony, which is then called diagridium. But what kind of a corrective is this? 
Does not the poison remain afterwards as before? And yet you boast that 
you have so corrected it that the poison no longer harms. Whither has it 
gone? It remains in the diagridium. Try it, if you are wise. Exceed the 
proper dose, and you will soon see where the poison is. You will not be long 
in finding out. So you correct turbith also, and then call it diaturbith. 
These are your methods of correction, fit only for clowns, and useful to drench 

Alchemy, the Third Column of Medicine. i6i 

horses with ! Risk an excessive dose ; you will see whether you do not feel the 
poison. To correct is to take that which has been corrected. A criminal who 
has broken the law is punished ; but his correction is not extended farther 
than the free will of the culprit lasts. Such are your corrections. The power 
is in them, not in you. In such a case, all the physician thinks of is how to 
eliminate the poison. This must be done by separation. For example, a serpent 
is venomous, and yet it is used for food. If you take away the poison you can eat 
the flesh without injury. And so it is with all other substances; only a similar 
separation is absolutely necessary. If this is not brought about, you cannot 
be sure of your work, unless, indeed, it come to pass that Nature supplies your 
place, or some special interposition of providence favours you. You have no 
protection in your art. If a sure foundation be necessary for the extraction of 
the poison, that is afforded by Alchemy. It must be so arranged that if 
there be Mars in Sol, Mars must be taken away ; or Saturn in Venus, the 
Saturn must be separated from the Venus. As many ascendants and impres- 
sions as there are in natural substances, so many bodies are there in them. 
But when the bodies are contrary, it is absolutely necessary that one of them 
should be taken away and removed, so that in this way all contrariety should 
be eliminated, and so the evil which you are searching for should be separated 
from the good. As gold is useless except it shall first have passed through 
the fire, so medicine is much less useful unless it, too, shall have passed through 
the fire. It is necessary that everything which is to benefit man shall have 
passed by fire to a second birth. Should not this, then, be deemed the right 
fundamental principle of every physician ? A physician should exhibit not 
poisons, but arcana. But all the preparations of your surgeries, how many 
soever they be, do not contribute the smallest tittle of learning. They are 
employed simply in correcting, which is just as if a dog should break wind in 
a room and you should kill the stink with fumigations and juniper wood ; but 
does not the smell remain in the room as much after as before that process ? 
Although the smell is not perceptible by the olfactory organs, could anybody 
say that the stink was separated and no longer remained ? It is there, though 
corrected by the fumigation. The stink and the fumigation enter the nose 
together. Of such a sort also are the corrections of the drug-vendors who 
disguise aloepaticum with sugar, that it may not offend the palate. The 
sugar and the honey form a magistery in this case. So, too, they correct 
theriacum with gentian. Are not all these operations instances of asinine 
ignorance ? And yet these people boast themselves the physicians of princes, 
and sell their skill for money ! Yet who is so dense as not to scent the fact 
forthwith that all this is worthless ? What else can they trumpet forth about 
their remedies beyond saying " This electuary is sweet, being compounded of 
spices, sugar, honey, and other condiments, and is held in very great esteem ? " 
And thus you mock your patient with your medicine, though all you can say in 
its favour is that it is nice. Just think how idle it is to lay your foundation in 
compounds of this kind, and to entrust everything to fatuous doctors. This 

1 62 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

method diflfers as widely as possible from the true basis of Medicine ; and is 
nothing but a worn-out and ridiculous phantasy. 

So, then, up to this point, we have sufficiently discussed this Column of 
Medicine, that is to say, Alchemy, in which consists the fundamental principle 
of all Medicine. Whoever is not built up on this foundation is washed away 
by every wave, the wind blows away his work, the new moon breaks through 
it. Every new moon destroys that building, or the shower softens it and casts 
it down. In view of a system of Medicine built up on such a foundation, do 
you, reader, judge whether I am an irregular doctor of Medicine or a heretic, 
disregarding truth, and with a mad brain. Do I deservedly, or undeservedly, 
gird at my opponents ? What right have they to rise up against me ? Let 
who will care for their cudgel. When once it has grown warm in their hands 
they will not readily lay it aside. Any fools can do this ; but a wise man 
should not imitate them. A far-sighted man throws away one cudgel and 
seeks another. What matters to me their persecution ? I shall not try to 
stop them. What I shall do is to shew them up, because they rely entirely 
on fraud and impostures, and have no foundation save what is elaborated from 
their own phantasy and their own brain. Whoever is a trustworthy and 
honest man to his patients, vi'hoever in his practice tries to imitate Nature, 
will not avoid me or turn away from my teaching. But those who live in this 
century do not follow Christ ; in fact, they despise Him. Why should I 
expect such a privilege as not to be despised by any ? At first, indeed, I 
ploughed by no means inactively in the same furrow with them. But when I 
saw clearly that from such art arose only murders, deaths, paralyses, mutila- 
tions, and other forms of destruction, I was compelled to retrace my steps and 
to follow truth by an altogether different road. Then they complained that I 
neither followed nor understood Avicenna or Galen, or knew their writings. 
They boasted that they understood all these things. Out of all this boasting 
it arose that on every side they injured, tortured, and murdered far more 
people than I, in my ignorance, did. This is really as much as to say that 
there is one and the same mode of operation for the one who understands and 
for the one who does not understand, and that neither the one nor the other is 
worth anything at all. But the more I contemplated the havoc wrought by 
them and by myself, the more I began to burn with hatred for the system, and 
I advanced to such a point as to perceive that it was nothing but a patchwork 
and a hotchpot mixed up with imposture. And I do not wish the matter to be 
concluded here ; but in all my writings I shall make it clear how, and in what 
way, all these matters are combined with ignorance. Every day I grasp more 
and more that not in Medicine alone, but also in Philosophy and Astronomy 
these people rest on no good and praiseworthy foundation, as I have already 
said. A vast tumult will be stirred up against me because I reject those who, 
for so many ages, have alone occupied the throne of glory and magnificence. 
But I confidently predict that the time will come when they will be cast down 
from that throne of glory and magnificence. Their force is nothing but 

Alchemy, the Third Column of Medicine. 163 

phantasy ; and I shall not end with the single expression of this sentiment, 

but shall assiduously bear the same testimony in all my writings. If the 

academies do not approve of me, what matters it ? They will by-and-bye fall 

to the ground and be humiliated. Meanwhile, I will expose and oppose your 

errors with so much severity that to the very end of the world my writings 

shall be truthful and acceptable. Yours, on the other hand, shall meet with 

this fate, that, full as they are of bile, and venom, and the poison of asps, they 

shall be cast out by all like toads, trodden under foot, and shunned. I do not 

attempt to destroy you and level you with the ground in a single year. It is 

better that at some future time you shall decaj' and die by your own infamy 

and ignominy. 1 shall judge more of you when I am dead than now I am 

alive. You may demolish my body, but you will only destroy its refuse. 

Theophrastus will struggle with you even when he has no body ! 

But those who shall hereafter be physicians, I would admonish that they 

deal more cautiously with me than with their own teachers, and that they 

rather weigh our disagreement with due care and judgment than condemn the 

other and absolve the other without maturely thinking the matter out. Weigh 

carefully, I beseech you, with yourselves what it is you would aim at, namely, 

the healing of the sick. If this be your aim and the subject of your argument, 

tolerate me as your teacher, since my sole object is to lead you towards this 

healing of the sick. On what basis, and with how much seriousness, I do so 

has already been said, and shall every day be more copiously set forth. Let 

not my writings be an offence to you because I stand alone, because I make a 

new departure, or because I am a German. By these writings and not by any 

others, the Art of Medicine must be discovered and learnt. Above all, I 

would enjoin that you carefully read and consider the works which, by the 

divine favour, I am to finish. I would name particularly one volume on 

Medical Philosoph in which all the causes of disease will be investigated. 

Another will be on Astronomy, with a view to sanitation. A third, and last, will 

be on Alchemy, that is, the method of preparing medicaments. If you read 

and understand these three books ; even you, who before disagreed with me, 

will become my followers. Nor shall I fix my limit here, but as long as the 

divine favour illuminates me I shall go on to regard the Monarchy in certain 

separate treatises published for this special purpose. Indeed, if I had not 

been oppressed by the unseemly hatred and envy of certain prominent men in 

Medicine these treatises would have already for the most part seen the light. 

I can already easily foresee that the astronomers also, like the philosophers, 

will noisily set themselves against me. It will be that they fail to understand 

me. They will raise a precocious clamour against me, but at last they will be 

silent, and betake themselves to their dens. Let not these things affect you, 

my hearers. Rather do this — read their writings while they follow mine 

in full cry. Thus you will find what you seek. At all events, I have set 

myself to write in what position, and on what basis I build up my system of 

Medicine, so that you may be able to gfather what I wish to erect on this 


1 64 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

foundation. I lay it before you so clearly that you shall not be able hereafter, 
with any show of justice, to repudiate me at the suggestion of your fathers 
and teachers and professors. Take care that you be not led away by vulgar 
physicians, surgeons, or bath-keepers. These like to look great and powerful, 
and pour out their long words, which have no science in them, but plenty of am- 
bition and boasting. These are like psalm-singers in a choir, who, indeed, 
chant the psalter, but understand not its meaning. Such are the physicians who 
constantly chatter and shout. And just as the nun sometimes understands a single 
word, but then turns ten pages without comprehending them, so the physicians 
sometimes make a hit, and then go astray again. Think over these matters 
with yourselves, and be your own witnesses as to what basis most of these 
people have for their studies. Even in Medicine it is no new thing for these ac- 
cusations to damage any one. Medicine in their estimation admits any amount 
of rascaldom, and is directed only towards persecutions and injuries. All these 
are signs of doubtful and uncertain art. Those who make such professions 
give themselves up entirely to wallow in envy and hatred, and wherever one 
man can stand in another's way, he thinks he has reached the highest point 
in his practice. So the devil governs them. From him they have derived 
their discipline ; this you cannot doubt. This is attested by their constant 
rendings and tearings of one another. The hand of God is not the cause of 
such things as these. 


Concerning the Book of Alchemy, without which no one can become 

A Physician.* 

ANYONE who would become a physician must learn the book of Alchemy 
thoroughly by heart. Its name, no doubt, will prevent its being 
acceptable to many ; but why should wise people hate without cause that 
which some others wantonly misuse ? Who hates blue because some clumsy 
painter uses it badly ? Who reviles a stone because it has been broken 
by the quarryman ? In like manner, who will hate Alchemy, which is innocent ? 
He deserves hatred who is guilty, who does not take in the Art, or use it 
properly. Does anybody hate him who has injured none ? Who will blame a 
dog if he bites anybody who seizes him by the tail ? Which would Csesar 
order to be crucified, the thief or the thing he had stolen ? I trow the thief. 
No science can be deservedly held in contempt by one who knows nothing 
about it. 

Now, in good sooth, this same Science or Art is of great use and necessity. 
Into it is dove-tailed the Art of Vulcan, and we know how useful a work 
Vulcan can accomplish. Alchemy is an Art, and Vulcan is the operator 
therein. Whoever is a Vulcan, he has power in this Art. Whoever is not a 
Vulcan has no power herein. In order that you may understand this Art 
more thoroughly it is necessary to repeat, fir.'.t of all, that God made all things 
out of nothing. Out of nothing, I repeat, he made something. Now, this 
something is the seed which gives the result of its own predestination, its own 
special office. And, although all things are created from nothing for their 
own end, there is, nevertheless, nothing which is entirely adapted to its end. 
That is, it is adapted to its end, but not wholly so adapted ; and it is Vulcan 

* The Labyrinthits Medicorum Errantiunt distinguishes eleven books out of which the physician ought to 
obtain his art and experience. Of these the 6fth is alchemy. The others are wisdom, which is knowledge as opposed 
to surmise and guess work ; the firmament, of which book the stars are the alphabet ; the elements, which are all 
essentially present in man ; the greater anatomy, by which the physical body of the microcosm is made known ; 
experience, because the whole of medical science is nothing but a great and certain experience, and whatever acts or 
operates therein is founded exclusively thereon ; the entire natural world, for this is the great storehouse of apothecaries 
' and doctors : theoretic medicine, which must be founded in Nature, even as theoretic theology is founded in God ; 
magic, because medicine should not be constituted in speculation but in manifest revelation, because disease and the 
medicine thereof are alike hidden, and magic is the science which makes manifest that which is concealed ; the book of 
forms, for all medicines have their forms, of which one is visible and the other invisible, one corporal and elementary, 
the other spiritual and sidereal ; finally, the book of the generation of diseases and their Iliastric and Cagastric seeds. 

1 66 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

that must complete the adaptation. All things are created with this view, 
namely, that they should be placed in our hands, but not altogether perfect. 
Wood grows to its proper end, but not to coal ; clay is created, but a vessel 
is not formed from it. The same reasoning applies to all growing things. 
Carefully study, therefore, this Vulcan. We will explain the matter by an 
illustration. God created iron, but not in the form it should afterv/ards 
assume ; not as a horse-shoe, a sickle, or a sword. These modifications are 
entrusted to Vulcan, and so this Art is good. Unless it were good Vulcan 
would not bring about these adaptations. Hence it follows that iron must 
be first separated from its ore, and then wrought, for this the artificer requires. 
Now, this is Alchemy. This is the metal-founder, named Vulcan. What the 
fire operates is Alchemy, whether in the kitchen or in the furnace. He who 
tempers the fire is a Vulcan, whether he be cook or heat-producer. And the 
same is the rule of Medicine. It is created, indeed, by God, but not fully pre- 
pared for its final end. It is, so to say, hidden in the ore. Now, the work of 
Vulcan is to separate the ore from the medicine itself. What you saw about 
iron is also true of Medicine. That which the eyes perceive in a herb is not 
Medicine, nor what they see in stones and trees. They see only the ore ; but 
inside the ore the medicine is hidden. First of all, then, the ore has to be 
removed from the medicine. When this is done, the medicine will be ready 
to hand. This is Alchemy; this, the special office of Vulcan, who super- 
intends the pharmacopoeia, and brings about the elaboration of the medicine. 
And as it often happens that gold and silver are found in a pure state, so 
medicine also is sometimes found in a state of purity, and its subsequent 
separation is then the easier, just as the pure gold needs only fulmination and 
fusion. When all that is necessary has been done, if in this wa)', by means 
of Alchemy, the medicine has been prepared and produced, then it is given to 
the sick as a remedy, or to the sound as food. Take an illustration from 
bread. The external Art of Alchemy cannot produce the ultimate material in 
the furnace, but only the intermediate substance. That is to say, Nature pro- 
duces the first material up to the time of the harvest. Then Alchemy reaps, 
grinds, bakes, and cooks this up to the very time when it is taken into the 
mouth. Thus, the first and the intermediate matters are perfected. Then, at 
length, the Alchemy of the Microcosm begins. This takes up the first matter 
in the mouth, that is, it masticates it, which is the primary operation. Then 
it deals with it in the stomach, which is the second matter. It decocts and 
digests it until, at length, it becomes flesh and blood. This is the ultimate 
matter, though afterwards another Alchemy may intervene in the shape of 
weakness, which is a primary matter. To this succeeds decline, a secondary 
matter; and at last death, the ultimate matter. Moreover, then ensues putre- 
faction as a first matter. Next to this is decay ; at last, dust and earth. Thus 
Nature deals with us by means of her creatures. And this makes good my 
position that nothing is created in a state of perfection for its ultimate matter. 
All things are created for their first matter. Then Vulcan is applied ; and, 

The Book of Alchemy. 167 

thanks to the alchemical art, reduces this to its ultimate matter. This is seized 
upon by the Archeus, or inner Vulcan, who, by circulating and preparing, 
according to the nature and difference of each separate substance, by subli- 
mation, distillation, and reverberation, puts the finishing stroke to the 
process. All these arts are prefigured and practised within the body of 
man, no less than without, in Alchemy. It is here that Vulcan and the 
Archeus differ. This, indeed, is Alchemy, which directs to its final end 
everything which has attained some intermediate end ; by reducing lead ore 
to lead, and afterwards shaping lead into whatever it is designed to make. 
Thus there are Alchemists of metals, Alchemists who work with minerals, 
who reduce antimony to antimony, sulphur to sulphur, vitriol to vitriol, and 
salt to salt. Know, then, that this only is Alchemy, which, by preparation 
through fire, separates what is impure, and draws out what is pure. Though 
all fires do not actually burn, still they are fires and they remain fires. So, 
also, there are Alchemists of wood, such as carpenters, who prepare timber 
for building purposes, or statuaries, who take away from the block of 
wood whatever does not form part of the contemplated statue. So, too, 
there are Alchemists of Medicine, who take away from medicine what is not 

Hence, then, it is quite clear what sort of an art Alchemy is, such an axt, 
namely, as separates the useless from the useful, and reduces it to its ultimate 
matter or nature. The reason why I define these things more at length in this 
book is because most printed books contain no art at all, but are crammed full 
of elisions and senseless punctuations, so that swine would rather eat dung than 
taste such a concoction. Since such ill-digested mixtures are of no use or force, 
God has put in their place Alchemy, the true and sublime Art of Nature herself. 
That crass and rude preparation of medicines which the drug-vendors of 
Montpelier produce is not worthy to be called an art, but is mere cramming, 
and a most abominable concoction. Yet this is how they make up their 
syrups and laxatives, or compound other like matters. Those printed books 
of the pseudo-physicians teach the same artifice, or, at all events, they put it 
forward. Yet not even syrups or laxatives, such as the practitioners of 
Montpelier prescribe, should be prepared in this way, but as the science of 
Alchemy teaches Medicine. So has God appointed and arranged. This 
should suffice for every physician that, since God has created nothing in its 
state of ultimate finality, but has committed the finishing stroke to the 
Vulcans, he, too, should fully perfect his medicines, and not weld the ore with 
the iron into one mass. Take another illustration. Bread is created and 
given to us by God, but not in that shape which the baker confers upon it. 
Those three Vulcans, the farmer, the miller, and the baker, produce from that 
first matter a second, namely, bread. The same should be done with medica- 
ments, and the same mode of reasoning applies to the Vulcan within us. So, 
then, the physician should not be ashamed of Alchemy; but in all things 

1 68 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

proceed according to the method which has been pointed out. Unless he 
does this he will not be a doctor, but just a freshman dubbed doctor — a 
doctor only to the same extent as that is a man which is seen reflected in a 

Here ends the Book of Alchemy from the Labyrinthus Medicorum. 


Theophrastus Bombast, Eremite of Hohenheim, Doctor and Professor 
OF both Faculties, to those desirous of the Medical Art, 


SINCE Medicine alone among all branches of learning is necessarily 
accorded the commendable title of a divine gift by the suffrage of 
writers both sacred and profane, and yet very few doctors deal with it 
felicitously at this day, it has seemed expedient to restore it to its former 
illustrious dignity, and to purge it as much as possible from the dross of the 
barbarians, and from the most serious errors. We do not concern ourselves 
with the precepts of the ancients, but with those things which we have 
discovered, partly by the indications found in the nature of things, and partly 
by our own skill, which also we have tested by use and experience. For who does 
not know that very many doctors at this time, to the great peril of their 
patients, have disgracefully failed, having blindly adhered to the dicta of 
Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna, and others, just as though these proceeded like 
oracles from the tripod of Apollo, and wherefrom they dared not diverge a 

* The Geneva folio adds the two other dedications which here follow :— Thi£Ophrastus, Eremite of Hohenheim, 
Doctor of both Faculties, Physician in Ordinary at Easle, to his most famous D. Cristophorus 
Clauserus, the most learned Doctor of the Physicians and Philosophers of Zurich, Greeting. It is the 
most excellent and the best sign of a true physician to be acquainted with medical truth, and to know whether he 
possesses the secret or not, exactly as you, O Cristophorus, most eminent of the physicians of Zurich, do nothing in 
your medical capacity which is contrary to your judgment and your most tender conscience, to which thousands rightly 
appeal. But understand this authority which I exercise in this our Monarchia. There is inborn in me a medical virtue 
derived from the soil of my fatherland. For even as Avicenna was the best physician of the Arabs, Galen of the men of 
Pergamon, and Marsilius of the Italians, so also, most fortunate Germany has chosen me as her indispensable physician. 
You know well that experience is the very mother of all physicians, yea, also of our whole Monarchia. But since each 
country Ls autonomous and a foreigner cannot be properly identified with it, but on the other hand an alien can well be 
compared with the man who corresponds to him, so this observe, that you may compare me to Hippocrates and Averroes ; 
you may compare Rhasis with us three together, each according to his country. Thus, the Arabs, the Greeks, and Germans 
stand on the same level, even as a triple horehound , and they equalize the amber of Germany with the Greek amber, with 
storax, turpentine, balsam, and mumia. Nor are you unaware that each country contains within itself the matrices of 
its own element, and produces that which is needful for itself. So amber is amber to its own country, and though 
perhaps there can be no comparison of the Chaldean rose to that of Arpinum, what has this to do with diseases, since 
each rose is for its own country ? Exactly in the same way every nation brings forth its proper and peculiar physician ; 
and that from its own Archeus. For every want gives work to an artificer, and the same necessity is the teacher and 
parent of every physician. Therefore the Italians can dispense with the Greeks and the Germans with both, since each 
of these have their own need, and its own minister, one for the nature of each nation. There is no call that any one 
should copy the miiid or morals of the Arabs or the Greeks. If theie be error at home, there is arrogance abroad. For 
this takes place at random, as by a dream, and without anyreason— and hence a physician must be generated out of these 

1 70 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

finger's breadth. From these authorities, when the gods please, there may 
indeed be begotten persons of prodigious learning, but by no means 
physicians. It is not a degree, nor eloquence, nor a faculty for languages, 
nor the reading of many books, although these are no small adornment, that 
are required in a physician, but the fullest acquaintance with subjects and 
with mysteries, which one thing easily supplies the place of all the rest. For it 
is indeed the part of a rhetorician to discourse learnedly, persuade, and bring 
over the judge to his opinion, but it behoves the physician to know the genera, 
causes, and symptoms of affections, to apply his remedies unto the same with 
sagacity and industry, and to use all according to the best of his ability. But 
to explain the method of teaching in a few words, I must first speak of myself. 
I, being invited by an ample salary of the rulers of Basle, for two hours in 
each day, do publicly interpret the books both of practical and theoretical 
medicine, physics, and surgery, whereof I myself am author, with the greatest 
diligence, and to the great profit of my hearers. I have not patched up these 
books, after the fashion of others, from Hippocrates, Galen, or any one else, 
but by experience, the great teacher, and by labour, have I composed them. 
Accordingly, if I wish to prove anything, experiment and reason for me take 
the place of authorities. Wherefore, most excellent readers, if any one is 
delighted with the mysteries of this Apollonian art, if any one lives and 
desires it, if any one longs in a brief space of time to acquire this whole branch 

things. But he who in spite of this randomness and slumber is raised up as a physician by the need of his country, he 
at length becomes the perfect physician of his nation, and is plainly its true Hippocrates, Avicenna, and even Lully. 
However, in this place, I cannot praise the men because they were raised up by this necessity, since their own country 
will not permit that I should pass over their errors in silence. For how, I ask, did Rhasis benefit Vienna? What good 
did Savonarola do to Friburg or Arnold to the Swiss ? What did Gentilius or the commentaries of Jacob de Partibus and 
Trusanus to the physicians of Meissen ? What did Avicenna confer upon them all, since the health of the sick is the 
one thing to be considered? This, therefore, is the faculty by which I write, which also my fatherland gave me, and 
this by that necessity whereby I said that I was born. Hence I dedicate the whole of this book to you. But I am 
persuaded that some ignorant person will at once reply, and I again shall make answer ; so is it manifest and clear on 
both sides that the whole duty of every physician is concerned with the health of the sick. But those whom I love 
most dearly will perhaps give interpretations of some obscure places herein, though not my oldest friends of all, namely, 
the foxes. My crowd of physicians is divided into two parts, the false of tongue, and the false both of heart and tongue. 
Now you understand what I wish. I will shortly send you some prescriptions, together with my improvement of the oil 
of colcothar. Act as a friend always, and be careful. Farewell — Given at Baste^ the fourth day of the Ides of 
November^ 1526. Theophrastusof Hohenhei.m, Doctor of both Faculties, and Physician at Basle, to the 

MOST EMINENT ASSEMBLY OF THE STUDIOUS AT ZURICH, HEALTH. Alas, how wretched is the estate of mortals, 
because there is scarcely any joy which is not pre'^ently followed by sorrow, a most fine company of helpers ! Hitherto I have 
not fully perceived my blindness, for I did not consider in the present that the wise man must most diligently observe not only 
those things which are at his feet, but those which are behind him, like a two-headed Janus, and those also which are 
in all directions around him. The reason is that your most delightful assembly, which I lately enjoyed, and do still 
recollect with gratitude, had so enchanted my heart and eyes that I forgot all about the future. My mind presaged no 
disaster ; I thought the whole matter was well managed and deemed that joy would be obtained and perfected without 
the company of grief. Now when I see those things which I ought to have foreseen, how, I say, shall I restrain myself 
from grief and mourning, since the dearest friend I had at Basle, whom I left in health and strength, has been killed by 
the accident of a sudden fall from an upper storey, where he was accustomed to sleep? He had been freed by me from 
the heaviest chains into which he had been thrown by the petty doctors of Italy; by me was he restored to health, of 
which fact Erasmus of Rotterdam is a witness, with all his family, as the epistle written by his own hand sets forth. 
Now when I was thus feasting with you, and taking life easily, he died whom I had left in good condition ; he, I say, 
whom I loved as my own eyes; being snatched away by the accident I have mentioned, namely, John Frobenius the 
parent and tutor of all learned and good men, being himself also wise and good, the most diligent promoter of all kinds 
of learning. Wherefore also have I need to fear the same suddenness in death which has overtaken him. What shall I 
say to myself? Death is common to all. Wherefore be warned. Watch, most excellent fellow-learners, and if to any 
extent we fail in our office, attribute it to that severe grief wherewith I am now tortured, and can find no relief. 
Farewell, most sweet companions. Love your Theophrastus.— .Saj/c, from our Library, tlie third Ide of 
November, 1527. 

Concerning Degrees and Compositions. 171 

of learning, let him forthwith betake himself unto us at Basle, and he will 
attain to far other and greater things than I can describe in a few words. 
But to make it clearer to the studious, we do not, for instance, shrink from 
submitting that we in no wise imitate the ancients in the method of 
complexions and humours. The ancients gave wrong names to almost all 
the diseases ; hence no doctors, or at least very few, at the present day, are 
fortunate enough to know exactly diseases, their causes, and critical days. 
Let these proofs be sufficient, notwithstanding their obscurity. I do not 
permit you to rashly judge of them before you have heard Theophrastus. 
Farewell. Look favourably on this, an attempt at the restoration of Medicine. 
— Basle, the Nones of June, 1527. 


Bv Theophrastus, of Hohenheim, Doctor of both Medicines. 



BEFORE I begin to treat of Degrees, two complexions of Nature should 
be noted : one is hot, the other cold. Moreover, each of these has in 
itself a certain inborn diathesis : for everything which is hot is dry, 
and that which is cold is moist, nor can heat or cold be alone. So these two 
natures, heat and dryness, are one thing, and in like manner, cold and 
humidity. Hence, therefore, degrees are easily determined, how each and 
every thing exists in its own degree, and what degree each thing respectively 
occupies. At this point, no doubt, those who are suffering from cataract and 
have familiarity with works of darkness will cry out that there are four 
complexions, hot, cold, dry, and moist, from which they gather that cold is 
present in moisture and in dryness, and in like manner heat is conjoined with 
both. According to this opinion they have arranged everything, that is as 
much as to say that the cold may be dry, and heat may be moist, which is a 
contradiction of terms. If they had approached more nearly and made a 
more searching investigation into Nature they would have found our argu- 
ments, which here follow, to be nearer the truth. They did not sufficiently 
understand that these four are two only, and so they falsely ascribe to the 
four elements those which are nothing less than they are elements, as philo- 
sophy clearly demonstrates. 


But in order to more clearly understand what I have said about the two 
complexions, take the following. Whatever the elements have produced in 

* While there is some matter in this treatise which is outside the purpose of the present translation, it has been 
thought well to include it in the section devoted to Hermetic Medicine because it enters at length into a subject or, 
more correctly, a class of subjects, to which there is frequent reference in Paracelsus— that, namely, of degrees and 
complexions. It is not very clear in itself, and it adopts an arbitrary terminology, which will be dealt with in the 
Vocabulary at the end, but it will help to illustrate the obscurity of previous references, and may perhaps give a little 
light indirectly. 

Concerning Degrees and Compositions. 173 

the nature of things is either cold or hot. If cold, it has in itself a certain 
innate individual humidity. Where there is humidity there is cold, and so 
what is hot is dry, for dryness subsists in heat alone. It cannot come about 
that the cold is dry and the heat is moist. For these are elemental coii- 
ji actions which come from Ares, as is clear from the example of a man and a 
woman. A man has in himself what is warm and dry ; a woman that which 
is cold and moist ; but they contribute to the complexions only according to 
their several degrees. From the very first, therefore, it must be remarked 
what is moist, what coagulated, and what, lastly, is resolved dryness. For 
hence arises a common error which is apt to spread even amongst the chief 
physicians. For example, take a crystal which appears cold, dry, and arid, 
since it dries and renders arid, but this appearance is delusive. For the most 
arid force of the crystal is a coagulated moisture, and in its action it masters 
everything, transmutes and forcibly changes it into a coagulated moisture, 
which is finally dissolved like ice. Similarly in petroleum, the dryness is not 
resolved as it appears to be, for the dryness is resolved in the substance of its 
own body. Wherefore I lay down this definition in place of an epilogue, that 
degrees must be observed in a twofold manner, the warm and the cold. 
Moreover, the dry is double and the moist is double, that is to say, dry per 
se and a resolved dryness, moist per se and a congealed moisture. The 
remainder of what is requisite at this point is contained in the Philosophy 


Although in this place more was to be said on the subject of degrees than 
I have so far set down, still, since these matters are well established among 
those who are any way skilled in medicine, I pass them over in silence here, 
and speak of those subjects which have up to the present been put forth 
falsely, and with a certain amount of pervading error. This is what should 
be accepted. In the first place, it is not only necessary to observe the sum of 
the elementated degrees, because this only serves in the case of elementated 
ailments ; but attention must also be paid to those things which concern 
mundificatives, incarnatives, laxatives, constrictives, repercussives, diaphor- 
etics, narcotics, cicatrizers, and other things of this kind. For this purpose it 
is of prime necessity to acquire a full knowledge of diseases, and, moreover, 
of the special degrees of each kind of disease. In the case of wounds, one has 
to know the degrees of incarnation ; in hyposarcha, the degrees of drying ; 
in gutta, the degrees of strengthening ; in epilepsy, the degrees of specifica- 
tion ; in cachexy, those degrees which arise from commixture. If you have 
thoroughly examined all these matters, then at last approach the composition 
of recipes. 

But we should not omit to mention that for the perfect knowledge both 
of diseases and of degrees there is required not only the medical but the 
astrological profession ; and, moreover, the Spagyric form. All these require 

174 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

perfect, and, moreover, a prolonged experience ; since thereby alone, and 
not by constant reading, or by a judgment, however exact, the scope of this 
book is made clear. 

Lastly, if you miss anything in this place on the subject of degrees, seek 
it in daily practice, to which I relegate you all, so as to learn the virtue of 
anthera, more particularly of tereniabin, which is remarkably ennobled ; and, 
lastly, as respects the flower of cheiri. 


Before, however, we come to the degrees themselves, we must observe 
certain rules of the degrees, by which method the degrees are at one time 
intensified and at another relaxed. In the first place you will observe this 
method. Whatever proceeds from the elements of the earth, that occupies the 
first degree. Of this kind are the lettuce, the violet, the anthos, etc. In like 
manner, whatever is of the air, such as pestilence, pneumonia, fever, is in the 
second degree. That which is produced from the element of the water holds 
the third degree, such as lead, sapphire, topaz, etc. But those things which 
spring from the element of fire, as ice, crystal, snow, claim the fourth degree, 
either hot or dry. It must be noticed, therefore, that whatever sensitive 
thing comes from an element is the same as the element, as the frog whose 
sperm is in the third degree ; in like manner, camphor. That which is of 
the earth, as man, is in the first degree, as Rebis. What comes from flying 
things is in the second degree, as vua. What comes forth from the fire, like 
the Salamander, is in the fourth degree. In what respects one excels another 
will be made clear in the following chapters. 


Furthermore, in order that the degrees may be more clearly marked in 
their points, take the present example. As the degrees of herbs have been 
divided into four, so all of them, how many soever there may be, are referred 
to the first degree, but still not all on an equality. For one is sometimes more 
than another as to the beginnings, middles, and end of both ; but still so that 
whatever descends from the element of earth remains in the first degree, and 
must not be placed outside that same. Among you the nenuphar occupies the 
fourth degree, and with you Saturn is allotted the third, though in coldness it 
exceeds nenuphar by almost eight degrees. So, then, they cannot be arranged 
in the same degrees. So, too, whatever exists in the second degree, there 
also the first point excels the fourth degree of the element, which is of the 
earth, and the fourth point is higher by four degrees than the last point of the 
first degree. In the third degree the same judgment must be formed, and 
likewise in the fourth. Thence are gathered sixteen points, which mount as if 
by stairs to the true degrees, even to the six hundred and sixty-third. Deser- 
vedly, then, we say that those have been in error who collected camphor, the 

Concerning Degrees and Compositions. 175 

sperm of frogs, nenuphar, and alums into one degree ; since from these a true 
and certain degree could not in any way be tal<en in recipes, as will be shewn 
in the following modes for compositions. 


But in order that you may have in particular both the degrees and the 
points of those things which induce heat, remark : Whatever makes ashes or 
lime or glass is in the fourth degree of fire, as fire itself, mercurial water, aqua 
fortis, etc. So whatever produces a biting effect and brings things to an 
Ischara, so as to cause putrefaction, occupies the third place. Of this kind 
are colcothar, arsenic, sal ammoniac, borax, pigment of gold, and others of 
that kind, as alkali. But as to the virtues of these things in which some things 
excel others, that is a matter of points, not of degrees. Moreover, whatever 
produces scars or blisters belongs to the second degree, of which kind are 
rabeboia, cantharides, flammula, melona, and others of that genus ; for 
although flammula be in the first degree, nevertheless, in another way it affects 
the second, because the spirit of salt in it reduces the flammula so that it is just 
comprised in the first point of the second degree. Lastly, whatever warms, 
but does not attain to the signs above mentioned, such as ginger, cardamum, 
abrotanum, and other things of that kind, exists in the first degree, together 
with its higher and lower points. But it is to be observed in this rule that the 
degrees are not arranged according to the nature and proportion of the 
elements, but are, independently of them, condensed into the present rule, for 
this reason, because the present rule is taken from the first three principles 
and serves for them, namely, those which predominate in salt, mercury, and, 
lastly, in sulphur, wherefore, in this place care must first be taken not to use 
the present rule in elementated diseases. For they are only, as it were, 
gathered from these, and serve for diseases which can be healed by the first 
three principles. 


But in order that you may ascertain the degree of cold, apart from that 
which belongs to the elements, take the following : Whatever congeals 
humours belongs to the fourth degree, of which kind are those things which 
are born of the element of fire. But whatever refrigerates (to use a common 
expression), yet does not injure the vital spirit when administered as a remedy 
in a proper dose, as narcotics, anodynes, sleeping draughts, the sperm of frogs, 
hemlock, belongs to the third degree. Whatever extinguishes unnatural heats 
and allays paroxysms is in the second degree, and, lastly, whatever prevents 
a disease from breaking out into a paroxysm is of the first degree. This rule 
does not differ much from that one which applies to heat, for these offer a 
direct enantiosis to the aforesaid. But whatever degrees they occupy which 
are of the elements, that same remains, according to what has before been 

1 76 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

prescribed, together with the present degree ; so that now there is produced a 
double degree of Nature, and it operates exactly according to the proportion 
and nature of the elements. 


Moreover, the rule concerning colours must be noticed, since these, at the 
same time, indicate the nature of the things in which they exist. For instance, 
the centaury, which is red, is therefore of a warm nature ; the lily, which is 
white, is for that reason of a cold nature. But of colours which are external, 
nothing certain can be defined, except in this way. The rose is red, yet of a 
cold nature, on account of the anther lying in it which attracts the heat of the 
rose. Again, wherever there is any yellow in a red flower, there is the heat, 
but the redness is judged to be of a cold nature, and so must it be concluded 
with regard to other flowers in like manner. Moreover, there are flowers 
which, though by nature they appear warm, are nevertheless cold ; among 
these is the minium. Others, again, seem cold when they are warm, as copper 
is. In order to ascertain these things, observe the following rule : Whatever 
is green, as soon as it is gathered from that with which it may be. mixed, is 
warm. So, too, is the body under which these colours lie hidden. Silver is, 
by its nature, cold, and keeps the colour of a cold body, for finally it passes 
into the colour of lazurium. Mars is naturally of a cold colour, and admits of 
being transmuted into a warm nature ; but, nevertheless, it preserves the force, 
and so the universal virtue of its own proper nature. Black colours are of no 
special nature, for they are nothing but sulphur, which is burned, and nothing 
underlies this, but it belongs to the elements. Whatever is white, livid, black, 
and hyacinthine, is cold ; the other colours are warm. Whatever is varie- 
gated belongs to one nature, presumably that of its principal colour. So, also, 
in green, though cold be present, yet it is comprised under its own head. 


Whatever is fat, and, moreover, moist, is cold, even although it exists in 
something green ; for the greenness is changed into a cold nature. What- 
ever, on the other hand, is dry, assumes a warm nature. Moreover, whatever 
comes from Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt falls under each nature, the warm and 
the cold, and that on account of the three principles. Summarily, whatever 
burns is sulphur, and of a warm nature, unless it exists in warm colours. 
But whatever goes into sublimation or calcination admits a warm nature. So 
whatever resolves itself or is brought to an alkali is warm. Moreover, what- 
ever is austere is cold. Sweet and bitter assume a warm nature unless 
affected by the former rules. Whatever dries the skin is warm ; that which 
constricts it is cold. If you would judge by the odours of these things you 
can define nothing accurately, except so far as they retain the same nature as 
the body. Lastly, there are other rules which are to be admitted, so long as 
they do not oppose those given above. 

Concerning Degrees and Compositions. 177 


Moreover, it should be noticed that there are certain things wherein, 
besides those which are natural, degrees are concealed in two ways, and that 
according to two bodies, as is the case with metals, gems, and stones. 
According to this view, mercury is chief among the metals, and embraces in 
itself a certain peculiar nature, warm and cold, nor can this be taken away 
from it. Now, if from thence be generated a metal, in iron or lead, beyond 
that nature it acquires another, and so two natures will be in one substance. 
Wherefore, from henceforth lead will be in place of mercury, if the leaden 
nature which it has acquired, together with its own, shall be suitable to your 
aiFairs. In the same way it must be judged concerning tin, silver, iron, and 
copper, because they return into their own body. Thus the liquid in gems 
remains in its own nature, and that a mercurial nature. If, now, it be con- 
gealed into a gem, it equally puts on a two-fold nature, because the constituent 
parts are reduced into their primal liquid. So, too, must it be judged con- 
cerning common stones. In certain herbs, too, a similar nature is present. 
Wherefore, read, and read again, and finally recall for experiment whatever 
is committed to your memory concerning the nature of things. And so recall 
it that you may now not merely think, but know exactly each of these things ; 
for in this lies the essence of a true and sure philosopher. 





ALTHOUGH I have written concerning the reloUea of Nature, according 
to its reason and nature, that it belongs both to the cold and the hot, 
together with its innate essence, still there are other things which the 
natural Ares has produced which in many respects excel what I have treated 
of in my former book. And, to begin from this point, if you wish from the 
beginning to speak exactly concerning accidental complexions, you will find 
that in this place the former relollea of Nature are little approved, and for 
this reason there are two natures universally in things which are both together 
in one substance, although only one of them appears. These are the innate 
accident and the elemental accident. Moreover, everything in its own nature 
is warm. The first matter of things is warm per se, nor does it change the 
innate accident, because all the three principles in the complexion remain even 
to their ultimate matter ; that is, in whatever nature they are found before the 
relollea in that same nature do they still remain until the relolleum departs. 
In whatever way, therefore, experience compasses the end, in that same way 
the beginning is manifested in itself. But before we pass on to those simples 
which are in the degrees we must observe that neither heat nor cold is an 
innate accident of them, but rather an elemental and external accident. 


Nature sends forth absolutely nothing from herself, as the man experi- 
enced in medicine easily gathers, but she keeps the innate accident so long 
as the thing or the body, in which that innate accident is, remains. You have 
an illustration in fire. In this the heat is an innate accident, and the nature of 
the three principles, which is evidently hot. Moreover, it cannot be other- 
wise but that the substance passes away together with the heat, if you wish to 
confer that heat on something else. Although that heat warms, still it is 
nothing more than a dead heat, nor does it heal disease or confer any other 
advantage, but is a certain superfluous heat added from without to the body. In 
this manner every innate accident puts forth and displays its power without any 

Concerning Degrees and Compositions. 179 

help to a sick person. Whatever, therefore, is adapted for the healing of 
disease should be prepared in the following manner : In the first place bring 
your medicine to him who separates the two essences, the one in the substance, 
the other in the vital spirit ; for wherever we wish to exhibit medicine, there it 
is necessary for the vital spirit to depart from the substance and to agree with 
the offending matter of the disease. Then the medicine will appear alone in its 
own body, and this in proportion to the three principles. The external elementated 
accidents go to that part where the disease lurks. And so I gather that in the 
universal nature of things a two-fold accident exists, an innate and an external. 
The innate confers little benefit on the health, but only the external. In fire 
there is no external accident, and therefore I assert that it is an imperfect 
work of nature. 


In the beginning, when Nature brings forth in its proper element, the 
Archeus* prepares the same according to the proportion and nature of its 
peculiar Iliaster, so that the Ares consists altogether of three things, and 
generates in the same thing the substance of the body. This generation, per se, 
is, for the sake of the body alone, that it may appear the same with the relol- 
leum. But what is this to the sick man ? For the fire is equally a relolleum 
accident, as is also snow. But they do not heal sicknesses, nor have any 
power in them for doing so, because they are a relolleum per se. More- 
over, the external elements make up the cherio of Nature, which, also, you 
must bring to the relolleum, because, although you take this together with 
the cherio, it is the cherio that heals all sickness. Remark in this place con- 
cerning the cherio that the cherio is nothing but the heat or cold of these 
things which leaves the body and goes away into Nature. You have an illus- 
tration of this in camphor. This has its frigidity from the cherio, and so is a 

* The Archeus of the Metals.— Kt^?< contains within itself the first matter of all the metals, but with regard to the 
manner in which it distributes that matter over the globe, it must be held that it expels all matters not excocted into 
metals along a trinal line into the Yliadus, and separates them in division. Thus in one place there are branches of 
copper, in another branches of tin, and so of the other metals. Further, if thus they are brought from Ares along the 
triple line, out of some of them there is ejected a metal, such as tin, lead, iron, or copper, etc., before any of the 
marcasite, bismuth, cachimia, or zinc have been previously purged, or collected into faeces, but while they are all 
present, and according to their smaller or larger proportion an excellent or base metal is generated. For it is endowed 
with hardness in the triple line, when Archeus has extracted it out of Ares. For then they are found in Yliadus 
according to various modes and forms. By that preparation of the Archeus various colours are produced, no one colour 
being repeated, for just as from all fruit trees no apple or pear is exactly like another, so also these are not alike, as they 
philosophize concerning Thisma. But silver and gold are frequently found solid and pure, for this reason, that the 
marcasite, bismuth, and other metallic matters, have been properly separated from the metals, and are sent back along 
the triple line. Accordingly, when the metal has been made pure, gold and silver are produced. The other extraneous 
metals have already been expelled ; the rest, therefore, are found pure as Archeus has ordained them. Sometimes, also, 
spumes are found on the surface of the rocks which look like plates of silver, sometimes, again, in meadows like flames of 
gold. Then also in Yliadus there are many other forms. They are most frequently found in waters, because pure gold 
of this kind is compelled by the force of the waves, together with grains of sand to assume the shape of a bolt. It is 
afterwards deposited in grains, as takes place by the Rhine and other rivers. Cataracts of water, if they pass over the 
triple line where this kind of gold remains, then the water ejects it. The larger quantity is washed out by violent 
inundations, etc., on to the beach or coast. It also happens that two, three, or more metals are found mixed, as gold 
and silver are found in copper. The cause is that by the expulsive operation of Archeus in Ares, two or three are sent in 
company into Yliadus. This occurs chiefly in the case of cognate metals. While, therefore, they are mixed, and, being 
mixed, are coagulated, they cannot be separated again, but remain joined together.— ZJf Eiewento Agues, 
Tract in., c. lo. 


1 80 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

most opportune remedy in case of inflations ; but in the substance of its first 
elements it remains warm, as sulphur and the spirit of salt, together with the 
mercurial. Such, also, are gems and herbs. Moreover, whatever Nature 
produces has its cherio, that is, its external elemental accident. Wherefore, 
at this point, on the subject of degrees, I assert that there is a greater portion 
of cherionic heat, or cherionic cold, in one body than in another. Thus has 
the Archeus disposed all things, and that for the sake of the microcosm. 


But in order that our council concerning the compositions of recipes may 
be more clearly known, it must be noticed that, as I have before mentioned con- 
cerning relolleum and cherio, so, in this place, it 'is necessary that you again 
understand this with reference to the body, namely, that those sicknesses which 
are only of a cherionic nature lurk in the body and descend into the body without 
involving the destruction of the first three principles of the body wherein they 
exist. For, just as the Iliaster in the four elements, like a mother, produces the 
relolleum and cherio, so man exists in the four elements and receives, as it were, 
hereditarily, the sicknesses which forthwith germinate in the body, so that, 
eventually, they burst forth into external elementated ailments. Wherefore, 
for arranging cherionic recipes, it is necessary that the external elementated 
things should leave their own bodies, together with their substances, and 
should converge on the vital spirit. Thus, the sick person is set free. It 
should, therefore, be noticed that death is not cherionic, but relollaceous ; al- 
though it arises hence that in no direction can death occur. For who can 
separate what is individual from that in which it lies hid ? Here, however, we 
are speaking of cold and heat in cherionic not in relollaceous matters. The re- 
maining desiderata on this topic you can read in the treatise on the Origin 
of Diseases. 


As in the former book, I have conveyed a knowledge of the nature of 
things, with regard to cold and heat, together with many and various rules, so 
in this place the present rule must be observed with regard to herbs. Most 
of them are cold and dry, and these put forth a certain obscure greenness. 
These, though they are pointed out as hot, are in fact cold, as the verbena 
and the shepherd's purse. Some are reputed to be cold when they are hot, as 
the bugloss and the anise. The reason is that the coagulated moisture pro- 
duces by its congelation great aridity, and the resolved dryness does not 
become dissolved without some little moisture on account of its cherionic 
nature. For it is certain that in no other way can anything be produced from 
the element of earth but it must be hot, nor from the element of water without 
being cold. This is the rule of Nature. But the reason why nothing of this 
kind takes place is that the external elementated condition corrupts and breaks 

Concerning Degrees and Compositions. i8i 

through the former nature. Wherefore, it must be dealt with according to its 
cherionic nature, by the guidance of experience. Moreover, since the same 
nature, whether it be cold or hot, does not form the body under which it lies 
hid, there is no need that you should labour for the body, but you may spend 
all your experimentation on the aforesaid three natures, as we have prescribed 
in the first book. 


Lastly, the physician will have to observe the bodies of those things 
which lack sensation. For all those bodies in which these things lurk are 
nothing but a liquid under which is hidden that which is cherionic. But the 
liquid is congealed like its own element, just as the Iliaster produced it. 
Wherefore, the separations of Nature once again resolve that which Nature 
has congealed, and in this resolution the two above-mentioned natures are 
separated. Hence it is clear that the external elementated things of Nature 
are the relolleum — accident of nature, and exist apart without any virtue. So, 
likewise, it is clear that another nature is fully and perfectly present while the 
innate property and the accidental property remain each in its own separation. 
Hence it is gathered that nothing which is cold or hot is congenitally so, and 
more that whatever is inborn can do neither good nor harm to any person. 
But there is in addition a certain other nature which does induce heat or cold, 
and by which we judge the heat or the cold, that is to say, by the cherionic 
indication. When this interposes, all sickness can be healed. For that same 
coldness or heat, from the moment of its entrance, turns to the ailment — a 
thing which the innate property never does. All these matters are contained 
in the book on the Conjunctions of Things in the properties of the two natures, 
according to the three principles, and that according to the prescription of 
philosophy. Moreover, in the following chapters you will see the order of the 
degrees according to the reason and nature of their elements. 


Those things which come forth from the earth have a warm nature in the 

first degree of heat, and among these are the following : — 

Dittany Gentian Clary 

Lion's-foot Elceampane Filla 

Anthos, or Cypress Calamus 

Rosemary flowers Great Sparge Hirundinaria 

Lacca Gallingall Peony 

Dodder of Thyme Philipendula Ginger 

Fig Bloodwort Flammula 

Broom Laudanum Herb of Paradise 

Costus Cloves Lavender 

Pennyroyal Monk's Rhubarb Mustard 

1 82 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Humulus Macropiper 

Lencopiper Fennel 

Hartwort Grains of Paradise 

Cretamus Citonia 

Scammony Balm 

Teazels Chamaepitheos 

Basil Bdellium 

Horehound Fumitory 

Sagapin Thistle 

Agrimony Cheiry 


Things which belong to the air are in the second degree of heat. These 
are : — 
Tereniabin Clouds Chaos Heat 

Things which proceed from water are in the third degree of heat, as : — 








Mother of Thyme 





Golden Talc 




Red and White Arsenic 

Cachimia of Salt 


Red Marcasite 

Congealed Salt 

Sal Gemmas 




Liquid Salt 

Things which come forth from the fire are in the fourth degree of heat, 
and are these, namely : — 
Hot Lightning Hot Hail All yEtnean Fires 


Cachimia of Sulphur 

Chimoleea Calcis 




Alumen Plumosum 



The things which are here enumerated are of a cold nature. 
Among these those which are produced out of the earth are cold in the 
first degree. 


Water Lily 



Bitter Vetch 


Herb Mercury 








Branca ursina 






Sanders of all species 



The four greater cold 

Flowers of Mulberry 

Concerning Degrees and Composiiions. 183 

Nightshade Mirabolanes of all species Lily of the Valley 

High Taper Ripe Apples Cucumber 

Lettuce The four lesser cold seeds Greater Arrow-head 

Endive Melon Fleawort 

Gladwin Snapdragon Poppies of all species 

Bread Flour or Corn 

Things which are produced from the air are cold in the second degree, 
as Nebulgea. 

Things which are produced from the water are cold in the third degree. 
They include : — 

Lead Antimony Silver 

Camphor Hematites Alumen Entali 

White Cachimia The three kinds of Tin White Talc 

Electrum terr£e Alumen de Glacie The three kinds of Coral 

Thalena alterrea Silver marcasite Lotho 

Thalena frigida Iron Aqua Glariona 

Things which proceed from the fire are cold in the fourth degree. 

Crystal Cold Lightning Citrinula 

Aries Citrinffius Snow 

Beryl Cold Hail Ice 


It is, therefore, to be observed that the law which rules the procedure of 
each thing from a particular element, rules also that it should possess the 
same degree. The development of sensitive things from the elements is 
shewn in the following table. 

Those which proceed from the earth occupy the first degree of heat, as: — 
Men The Lion Rams 

Boys The Horse The Wolf 

The Goat Oxen Cocks 

The Leopard The Bear Foxes, etc. 

Those which inhabit the air belong to the second degree of heat. 
The Eagle The Phoenix The Sparrow 

The Ostrich The Swallow The Heron 

And generally all winged animals which are not referable to water. 

Those which relate to the water occupy the third degree of heat, as the 

Those which inhabit the fire belong to the fourth degree of heat, as the 

The following are of a cold nature, and, among these, those which 
proceed from the earth occupy the first degree of cold : — 
Women Cows All Species of Sperm 

■ Girls Menstruum 

184 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Those which belong to the air are in the second degree of cold, as doves 
storks, etc. Those which are referable to water occupy the third degree of 
cold, as fishes, worms, tortoises, frogs, etc. To the fourth degree of cold are 
referred those igneous creatures known as Gnavi, or Gnani, and Zonnetti. 


Moreover, there are certain other simples which, by the intervention of 
composition, attain to the second grade. These, although they do not acquire 
their grade altogether according to the manner and nature ot the elements, yet 
such as are in the first grade acquire the second ; those which are in the 
second attain the third ; while those of the third, in like manner, acquire the 
fourth grade, as shewn in the ensuing table. 

Rose Nenuphar Flowers of the Centaury 

Violet Camomile Flowers of the Bullace 

Solatrum Flowers of Tapsus 

Anthera Flowers of Hypericon 

Addition of Compositions. 
Oil Vinum Ardens 

Crude Vinegar And all fatty substances 

Distilled Vinegar 

Further, although Nature by herself is not so frigid, yet composition 
effects such a reduction that, by means of addition, there results a certain 
grade of cold or heat, as is obvious in the case of the oil ot roses, the vinegar 
of roses, and other matters of this kind. There are others which, properly 
belonging to the third grade, attain the fourth, as camphorated vinegar, oil of 
lead, etc. Moreover, there are grades which, by means of separation, ascend 
from the first into the fourth, as also from the third into the fourth grade, as 
will be seen in the third section of the Grades of the Spagyrists. Again, 
there are those things which are not intensified at all, of which kinds are snow 
and ice, by reason of their relolleous nature. Then there are those things 
which do not manifest their nature unless prepared, as is the case with the 
sperm of grass, the crystal, and sulphur. There are also those which are 
reduced from a hot grade into a cold, as gems, and others from a cold into a 
hot, as camphor, corals, etc. Lastly, there are those which lose their grade 
in preparation, as those which are congealed or resolved. Item. There are 
certain things which do not operate in the substance of their body, as oil of 
Jupiter, and the like. Experience will point out those matters which are 
omitted in this place. 




AT the beginning of this third book, you are to observe that, besides those 
essences which I have already mentioned, there is another essence and 
nature which is called Quintessence, or, as the philosophers say, the 
Elemental Accident, or again, as ancient physics term it, the Specific Form. 
It is called quintessence for this reason, that in the first three essences there 
are four hidden, which in this place is called the quintessence, and is neither 
warm nor cold, without any complexion in itself. But to make the matter 
clearer by an example, the quintessence alone infuses robust health, just as the 
strength or robust health which is in man, without any complexion, is brought 
to its end. Thus virtue lurks in Nature, for whatever rejects diseases is nothing 
else than a certain confortative, even as, relying upon your strength, you 
repel a foe. It is part of the nature of things that there is nothing in the 
nature of things which is lacking in virtue, unless it be of a laxative quality. 
The same is the case with quintessence, because this is without complexion. 
But although coldness elsewhere relaxes, as also sometimes heat, yet it is 
beyond Nature, and from the virtue of a relollaceous nature. Whatever 
operates according to Nature possesses a quintessence, for its virtue is so 
ordered that it removes superfluities from the body, just as incarnatives for 
curing ulcers in such a manner promote the growth of new flesh, that by the 
intervention of their virtue the offensive matter is removed. These three are 
of a triple essence, but there is one virtue, which is justly termed the 


In order to become acquainted with the grades which exist of the quint- 
essence, and specially of those things which are confortative, there are four 
points to be observed at the outset : firstly, whatsoever is of the earth holds 
the first grade of health ; secondly, whatsoever is from the air is referable to 
the second grade ; thirdly, whatsoever is of water belongs to the third grade ; 
fourthly, whatsoever is produced out of fire holds the fourth grade. But, 

1 86 Tlu Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

further, it is labour in vain to seek a quintessence out of earthly things, equal 
to that which is extracted out of air. In like manner, that which is from air can 
never be compared with that which derives from water. Judge as follows of 
the fourth element. For example : To extract the quintessence of chelidonia is 
nothing else than toiling after the quintessence of the phoenix by that 
quintessence. Similarly, by the quintessence of the phoenix, the quintessence 
of gold ; by the quintessence of gold, the quintessence of fire ; but although 
in chelidonia, in melissa, and in valerian, there is more of the arcanum than in 
the rest, yet the grade excels so that by this superiority that arcanum is by far 
surpassing. Thus in every grade one thing is higher than another. Wherefore, 
with regard to earthly things, notice whether chelidonia is superior to melissa, 
as melissa to valerian. Judge in the same way concerning the three other 


Whatsoever has been dealt with in the former chapters has been with a 
view to proceeding subsequently to the follov^dng signs of the grades, so as to 
elucidate after what manner the grades stand in the elements. Platearius, 
Dioscorides, Serapio, and others, their followers, who have written much, but 
false!)', of the quintessence, do not signally differ from us herein. Yet do you, 
whoever you be, seek a knowledge of the quintessence from experience, for 
thus you will understand the grades in their division. That the manner in 
which diseases are repelled by the quintessence may become clear, we must 
first diligently notice the concordance of things in diseases. For some virtues 
contend only in synechia, others in mania, others in aclitis, and yet others in 
lethargic complaints, as is the case with concordances. In this place I think it 
worth while to know that which lies hidden in Nature, as in gelutta (carlinum) 
and melissa, which renew and remove disease without any virtue of grades, 
namely, in the restoration and repair of youth. The manner and the efficacy 
by which these things are done are indicated in the treatise, De Vita Longa, as 
certain peculiar mysteries which exist in the nature of things besides arcana. 
Wherefore, I think proper to pass them by here, and at length continue what 
I have begun concerning the four grades of the elements. Hence, although 
there be many and various virtues which cure maladies, some through their 
aperient nature, others through their narcotic nature, others again by other 
means, I leave such matters to those who devote their attention to theorems. 


Everything which strengthens is tempered. No hindrance will arise from 
the substance which, although it be cold or hot, will, however, not incom- 
mode the Quintessence in its body {others read, in its work). More- 
over, every specific is a quintessence, without any corruption of its body. 
Furthermore, nothing is tempered except the Quintessence ; all bodies are 
elementated in nature and their accident. 

Concerning Degrees and Compositions. 


of all kinds. 

of all kinds. 

Grade of Health. 

Those things which proceed out of the earth hold the first grade of 

Things which proceed from the air hold the second grade. 
These are all kinds of winged creatures. 

Things which proceed out of the water hold the third grade, as ; 

Resins of Sulphur 

Things which proceed out of fire hold the fourth grade, as the 
Tincture and the Philosophical Stone. 

However, there are certain other virtues to be noted which are concealed 
in herbs, but not in winged things, nor in metals, as ursina and white thistle 
indicate, which, beyond their grade, admit foreign virtues. Among these 
there is also the emerald, which admits a foreign efficacy into itself, yet such 
in no wise conduce to health, for they are only external virtues which have no 
internal eflFect whatever. 


Enough having been said of confortatives, we will now turn to laxatives 
and their grades. Accordingly, first observe that we shall not here make use 
of that classification whereby the laxatives are divided into four natures. 
They are described in this fashion according to ancient custom. The colo- 
quintida and scammony purge cholera ; turbith and hellebore purge phlegm ; 
manna and capillus veneris purge the blood ; while lapis lazuli and black 
hellebore purge melancholy. 

Moreover, there are others also which ward off cholera viielltna, others 
which ward off the rust-coloured and yet others the citrine- coloured water of 
dropsical subjects, with things of like kind, as elsewhere has been sufficiently 

1 88 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


As in the former chapter I made mention of the grades of laxatixes, so in 
this place, to impress it more deeply on the mind, I repeat the same — namely, 
that laxatives in no wise follow the four grades of the elements, but they have 
their grades mixed without any respect to the same. Wherefore, more diligent 
attention must be paid to the nature of the disease, lest you should carelessly 
misuse the confortatives designed for its cure. These should rather be accom- 
modated so that they may agree with the nature of the disease. The grade 
and the disease should also be invariably compared. But lest with unwashed 
hands, as the saying is, we should rush in upon this question of purgations, it 
is needful to proceed as follows, namely, observing that the functions are 
sometimes unequal in the same operation in the fourth grade, as hellebore 
sometimes removes that which sea-lettuce cannot, and in like manner cataputia 
where both the above would fail. At one time precipitate, at another esula, 
and at yet another cassia, will prevail in the removal of fistula. Moreover, if 
we speak of fevers, such a laxative as centaury will occasionally purge febrile 
humours, and hellebore, another laxative, will be of use in an epileptic com- 
plaint. So, also, agaric, and things of this kind, will prevail in the case of 
worms. The reason is to be sought in Nature, not in the humours, for Nature 
has been equipped to remove whatever is melancholic, choleric, or phlegmatic, 
or, indeed, anything which could be mentioned here. 

Note the following 
Locusta Botim 
Hairs of Venus 
Locusta Sambuci 
Locusta Ebuli 
Serum of Milk 

things for very vehement and very gentle purging. 


Mountain Osier 






Either Hellebore 


Observe the following things concerning incarnatives and consolidatives. 
They contain in themselves the four grades, while the consolidatives, in the 
same manner as the laxatives, exclude the elements. In the first place, there- 
fore, we must observe the manner wherein the ailments which we desire to 
heal stand in their grades. For out of these proceeds the grade of natural 

Concerning Degrees and Compositions. 189 

thing's. Now, some heal fractures of bones, others cure wounds, others 
ordinary ulcers, others eating ulcers (others fleshy). Hence arise four grades 
in the following fashion. 

Broken bones are cured by Alchimilla, Periwinkle, Perfoliata, Diapensia, 
Aristolochia rotunda, Consolida, Serpentina. 


Wounds are healed by Natural Balsam, Artificial Balsam ; the oils of 
Hypericon, Bullace, Turpentine, Laterinum, Centaury, Anise, Benedictus ; 
apostolic plasters and unguents ; apostolic powders ; potion for wounds. 

Imposthumes and common ulcers are cured by Emplastra Gummata, 
Emplastra Mumiata, Emplastra Apostolica, and Unguenta Apostolica. 

Cancrous and eating ulcers are healed by composition of Mercury, of 
Brassatella, and of Realgar. 


There are, moreover, others besides the above which equally possess 
their own grades, of which kind are poisons, wherein the grades should 
indeed be specially observed. First, by reason of their elementated nature, they 
should be admitted into the composition of recipes. At the outset, therefore, 
have regard to the quantity of the poison ; the weight must then be prepared, 
and that in the following way. 

Poisons in their Grades. 
Simples by themselves : Colcothar and Alum. 

Reverberated : Spirit of Jupiter and Spirit of Saturn. 

Calcinated : Tartar and Scissum. 

Sublimated : Arsenic and Mercury. 

The other species of poison, as those of the spider, toad, scorpion, lizard, 
and serpent, as also the small dragon, among many, I pass over because they 
are not ingredients, except the Tyrian poison, which might be named. 
There are, moreover, those which provoke the courses in women, which also, 
being specially adapted for this purpose, may be placed among other recipes, 
according to the manner of their grades. There are others which suppress 
tumours, some which provoke the flow of urine ; all these and their like are to 
be sought from experience and concordance. Now for the Grades of the 

I go The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


Out of the spagyric industry four grades precede in the same manner 
with the four elements, and so surpass the other grades in their quantity. 
Further, wherever the last grade comes to an end, there the first point in the 
spagyric grades begins, and after this manner. 


Oil derived by distillation from all herbs, roots, seeds, resins, gums, fruits, 
fungi, and tree mosses. 

Oil of the vulture, the dove, the heron, the crow, and the magpie. 


Water of vitriol, liquor, mercurial water, oil of quicksilver, viridity of 
salt, aluminous waters, calcined oils, oils of metals, liquors of gems, potable 
gold, essence of antimony. 


Oil of crystal, oil of beryl, tincture, stone of the philosophers. 

All these are hot, for the grades remove that which is elementated, and 
over that which is element they advance their own grades. Therefore, to 
become acquainted with those grades there is needed full and perfect ex- 
perience, so that you may see the preparation of these things which prsceed 
out of the elementated, where they surpass the elementated. 

Things which proceed out of the earth occupy the first grade of the 
Spagyrists, as, for example, out of the seeds of Anise, Juniper, Cardamum, 
Clove Tree ; out of the roots of Jusquiam, Repontic, Angelica, Masterwort ; 
out of the woods of Ebony, Juniper, Sandal. 

Things which proceed out of the air occupy the second grade, as, for 
example, out of the fruits of Nuba, Ilech, Tereniabin ; out of winged 
creatures, as the Phcenix, the Eagle, and the Dove. 

Things which proceed out of the water occupy the third grade, as, for 
example, out of metals, as Gold, Mercury, Silver, Copper, Lothon, Iron, Lead, 
Tin, Electrum, Sapphire, Smaragdum, Granate ; out of gems, as the Topaz, 
the Ruby, the Hyacinth, the Amethyst, and Corals ; out of minerals, as 
Marcasite, Cachimia, Talk, Realgar, and Vitriol ; out of salts and alums. 

Things which have their origin from fire hold the fourth grade, as out of 
the Beryl, the Crystal, and Aries. 

And the things which descend from the above-mentioned four elementated 
substances, as out of the earth, Water of Life, Distilled Balsam, Circulated 
Waters, Distilled Liquors ; out of the air, Distilled Birds, also Tereniabin, 
Cloud, Ilech, distilled by retort ; out of the water. Potable Gold, Sublimates, 
Resolutes, Liquor of Silver, Calcinates, Congelates, Resolution of Mercury, 
Reverberates ; out of the fire. Liquor of Crystal, Liquor of Beryl, Liquor of 




THOSE herbs which are of a frigid nature and from the earth, are not 
altogether adapted to all diseases which are of a warm nature, nor, 
again, are those herbs which are of a warm quality adapted in all 
cases to diseases of a frigid nature. Hence, seven genera of diseases and 
seven genera of heats and colds are distinguished, and among them those of 
the heart as well as other members. This difference, therefore, should be very 
carefully observed, that those things which are wanting to the liver, whether 
it be warm or cold, may be sought from the same herbs. So, also, those things 
wherein the cerebrum is deficient require their special herbs. However, 
although herbs in general are either cold or hot, yet those which are for the 
spleen are in no wise appropriate for diseases of the reins. Wherefore, after 
an aquaintance with the grades there is required that of the difference between 
herbs in the manner following. 


In the first place, herbs are divided into seven species, together with the 
rest of the elements, and this on account of the nature of the star, which, 
equally with these, is divided into seven species. Further, in the same way 
as they admit of a sevenfold division, the body also is subject to the same 
classification, and they correspond one to another, so that those things which 
are under.the sun are appropriate to the heart, and these are twofold; while 
those under the moon are, in like manner, appropriate to the brain, and that in 
either grade. Those things which are under Venus are heating to the reins ; 
those things which are under Saturn strengthen the spleen ; those which are 
under Mercury defend the liver ; those under Jupiter have regard to the lungs ; 
finally, those subject to Mars are considered wholly adapted to the gall. 
Moreover, though herbs are not regulated together with simples of the 
planets, nor the planets regulated by them, there does certainly exist a singular 
supremacy in every element without mixture of another. 

192 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


In order to become acquainted with those elements which pertain to the 
heart, we must, in the first place, observe that whatever regenerates is akin 
to the heart, as gold, balm, nuba, etc. Moreover, whatsoever removes 
phlegm, of which kind are the rose, camphor, musk, amber, etc., are brought 
to the brain through the medium of their native fragrance. In like manner, 
whatsoever heats or cools the blood is serviceable to the liver. What pro- 
vokes the flow of urine or increases the semen benefits the reins. That which 
preserves long life benefits the spleen ; that which purges, the stomach. 
Experience gives acquaintance with these things, but it is rather the experience 
which is derived from philosophy than from medicine, from regeneration rather 
than from disease, even that which is produced from transmutation. For 
when both medical and philosophical experiments concur there is derived a 
genuine diathesis of everything. 


When, therefore, you have become acquainted with the transmutation 
which indicates seven species, both of the hot and cold, you must observe that 
whatever regenerates or expels an evil growth, and purifies or restores the 
matter to wholeness, and thus to an incorrupt state, comes to be included 
under the same species, whether it arises from the heat or cold of the 
elements. Moreover, everything in transmutation consumes superfluous 
humours, as salt removes leprosy of the moon, whence it is a most speedy 
remedy for the cerebrum. In this place you may observe that the herbs are 
not to be administered in this fashion, because they are Lunar, but because 
they reduce and compel Lunar things into their power. By silver or the Moon 
the brain is in no wise healed, but by those things which are opposed to these. 
Moreover, whatsoever prevents rubefaction and putrefaction, and conserves into 
an essence, as fixed things which obtain in the transmutation of metals, in the 
same manner preserves the spleen incorrupt. Similarly whatsoever resolves a 
substance and a body into liquor strengthens the liver and expels that which is 
repugnant thereto. But whatever dissolves to such an extent that the con- 
traries are separated from one another, is beneficial to the stomach. Of this 
kind are the alkalies in tin. Finally, whatever prepares things and renders 
them suitable for the augments of transmutations — of which kind are the 
conjunctions of arcana — is to be used above all. Seek an experience of these 
things from the transmutation of Nature, but waste not your whole life in 
those miserable grades, nor in the profitless catalogues of herbs, which are 
found in senseless codices. For these are inimical rather than beneficial to 
the stomach. 


The following table will indicate the manner in which the seven aforesaid 
species are distinguished in the four elements, namely, which liave their 

Concerning Degrees and Compositions. 193 

origin from earth, which from air, fire, and water. Hence you may 
judge concerning the method of composing recipes, as follows : — 
Those which come from the earth, and are of a hot nature : — 
The Cerebrum, Viriditas Salis, Liquor of Vitriol, Liquor of Lunaria. 
The Heart, Essence of Melissa, Quintessence of Gold. The Reins, Correc- 
tion of Sibeta, Essence of Satyrion. The Liver, Liquor of Brassatella, 
Liquor of Manna, Xylo aloes. The Spleen, Mystery of Black Hellebore, 
Mystery of. Valerian, Mystery of Verbena. The Chest, Extractio de 
Pulmone, Extract of Tree Moss. The Gall, Quintessence of Chelidony. 
Those which come from the earth, and are of a cold nature : — 
The Cerebrum, Essence of Geloen, Essence of Anther. The Heart, 
Matter of Laudanum, Matter of Pearls, Matter of Sapphires. The Reins, 
Materia Sintocoriim, Matter of Lettuce Seed. The Liver, Liquor of Senna, 
Quintessence of Blood, Quintessence of Gamandrea and Cichorea. The 
Spleen, Compositio Candi, Confection of Dubel Coleph, or Dubelteleph. 
The Chest, Matter of Dew, Matter of Sulphur, Matter of Ologan. The 
Gall, Composition of Agresta (verjuice), Composition of Pomegranate 


Those which come from the air, and are of a hot nature : — 

Brain and Heart, Nuba, Symona. Reins and Liver, Ilech, Hallereon. 

Spleen, Chest, and Gall, Tereniabin. 

Those which come from the air, and are of a cold nature : — 

Brain and Heart, Halcyon. Reins and Liver, Crude Ilech. Spleen, 

Chest, and Gall, Crude Aries. 


Those which come from the water, and are of a hot nature : — 

Brain, Oil of Mercury of the Moon, Essence of Silver, Essence of the 

Sixth, i.e., of Venus. The Heart, Potable Gold, Liquor of the Sun, Oil of 

the Seventh, i.e , of Saturn. The Reins, Essence of Vitriol, Quintessence of 

Sulphur, Flower of Venus. The Liver, Mystery of Mercury, Mystery of 

Antimony. The Spleen, Mystery of Asphalt, Rubedo de Nigro. The Chest, 

Flower of Jupiter, Extract of Tin, Resolved Talc. The Gall, Crocus of 

Mars, Topaz from Iron. 

Those which come from the water, and are of a cold nature : — 

The Brain, Juice of Amethyst, Liquor of Granates, Composition of 

Gems. The Heart, Composition of both Marcasites, Composition of White 

Talc. The Reins, The Tincture, The Physical Stone. The Liver, Spirit of 

Saturn, Essence of Lead. The Spleen, Mystery of Coagulated Mercury. 

The Chest, Flower of Crude Jupiter. The Gall, Dust of the fifth 



194 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


Things which come from fire, and are of a warm nature : — 

Warm Nostoch. 
Things from the same element, but of a cold nature : — 

Arcana of Crystal, Mastery of the Beryl, Citron Liquors. 

When you have become acquainted with the grades and their species, you 
must then advance to the composition of recipes, according to the direction of 
the rule following. For as there are four elements, so four recipes are to be 
prepared. There are some kinds of diseases which require earthy remedies, 
more require atmospheric, others aqueous, and yet others igneous. In the 
first place, therefore, you must notice the diseases in the seven members, among 
which the elements are distributed. Hence simples are to be extracted of 
which you may prepare a composition according to the nature both of the 
grades and the species thereof. Accordingly, with elementated diseases, as, 
for example, terrene, a composite is not to be prepared higher than its own 
grade, but is to be left in that same grade. Similarly, with regard to the 
atmospheric, nothing out of a foreign element is to be introduced. Judge 
in this same manner concerning the other elements. This, then, is the crucial 
point, to accommodate each disease to its proper element, for hence arises that 
common error which is continually recrudescent in the case of gout, paralytic 
diseases, and others of this kind, by reason of the preposterous healing method 
which is adopted by unskilled men. Take epilepsy as an instance ; a species 
hereof is subject to the element of water, wherefore it is to be healed by 
means of minerals. 


Take general rules for the composition of recipes as follows. All those 
which are prepared for elemental diseases consist of six things — two of which 
are from the planets, two from the elements, and two from narcotics. For 
although they can be composed of three things, one out of each being taken, 
yet, these are too weak for healing purposes. Now, there are two which 
derive from the planets, because they conciliate and correct medicine ; two 
derive from the elements, in order that the grade of the disease may be over- 
come. Lastly, two are from the narcotics, because the four parts already 
mentioned are too weak of themselves to expel a disease before the crisis. 
Observe, then, concerning composition, to forestall the critical day. Recipes 
prepared in this manner are very helpful for diseases in all degrees of 

Lastly, concerning weights, observe the following rule. Observe the 
grade, whether it be surpassed by the medicine, or whether the medicine 

Concerning Degrees atid Compositions. 195 

agree with the grade. But in order that the three species may not corrupt one 
another, dispose the weights as follows : The proportions from the planets 
should be as four, from the elements as three, and from the narcotics as 




IN the prescription of recipes divide the disease into four species, and 
distribute these among the elements, taking the grade which occurs, and 
proceeding in the following manner : If the disease passes from one grade 
into another, take the same grade, for thus are healed diseases of the first 
grade, which are of the earth ; of the second grade, which are of the air ; of 
the third grade, namely, of the water ; while that which attains to the fourth 
grade must be cured by the Tincture alone, for otherwise there is nothing which 
which can be accommodated to this case. Moreover, although in the fourth 
book I have prescribed that the recipe should be constituted of six parts, it 
could, notwithstanding, be confected of three, or the six might be doubled. 
Again, they might be distributed as follows : Of those which are of the 
planets take four drachms ; of those which are of the elementated take three 
drachms ; of those which are of the narcotics take one drachm. Thus the 
matter consists in the weight, not the number of the simples. 

Again, the strength, and what is more, the effect of those things which 
are admitted into the description of this recipe, are referred neither to the weight 
nor to the recipe, but to the dose, so that in those things which are of the planets 
you obtain greater efficacy than with the elementated things. But this is of 
the dose, not the weight or the recipe. Wherefore the above method is to be 
observed. Finally, signal skill in medical matters is herein required, to avoid 
premature application of the healing process ; you must rather proceed so as 
to purge where there is need of purgation, heal where healing is required, and 
consolidate where consolidation is necessary. 


Vou must know that everything which comes to be tested by Nature 
pertains to that subject which the physician makes his province. That only 
which is of ocular demonstration is to be considered in doses. Every dose, 

* The treatise Concerning Grades and Compositions in A Ichemy consists of seven books, but of these the last 
three are so much outside the purpose of this translation that they have been compressed into a very small space. All 
the information which the Hermetic student is likely to require on the subject of complexions and qualities is embodied 
in the lirst four books. 

Concer7iing Grades and Compositions. 197 

according to its proper arete, is either hot or cold. With regard to the 
composition of recipes, neither the humid nor the dry is to be considered in 
doses. As there are only two complexions, so there are only two doses. 
Whoever is acquainted with the grade of hot or cold, will know that there is 
joined thereto not only dry and humid, but also a dry resolute and a humid 
coagulate. No arcanum or'aniadus resides in the warm or dry, inasmuch as 
no disease occurs which only seeks one of these. The chief point is in the 
hot or cold, for that diathesis dominates either in the hot or the cold. The 
sole inclination of every disease is that the physician should simply observe 
whether it be hot or cold. Every grade is the dose of its disease, and from 
every grade should the dose be taken, as may be understood by the comparison 
of fire, which has only one grade, and yet it is abundantly sufficient to consume 
its contrary, which is, indeed, according to heat. So every disease has its own 
grade, neither more nor less. The dose has a like relation to each and every 
disease. But natural things are not graded equally as to the disease in the 
matter of the dose ; each has a grade equal to its disease, and that is the 
grade of the dose. 

Since there is only one grade, and nothing is graded higher in warm or in 
cold, equality is the chief help to ascertain the dose. There is one grade in 
disease and in things of Nature. No disease becomes worse because the grade 
of its medicament is higher. It becomes worse only according to the capacity 
of its nature. The extent of the disease regulates the amount of the dose. 
Wherefore the physician must know with what weight the disease is loaded, 
for the dose demands for it the same weight of medicine. The weight, 
therefore, and not the grade, is to be administered. Herein consists the 
chief principle of administering any dose : this ought to proceed from the 
number, not the body of those things. The end is that the ares of the 
microcosmus, and not the medicament, should effect the cure. As soon as 
the disease has been brought to an equality. Nature herself cures that which 
is contrary to her. The quantity of the dose must therefore not exceed the 
number which is taken from the disease. There are twenty-four numbers in 
Nature, and within this number the medicine should also be confined. In the 
anatomy of Nature there are twenty-four minuta of diseases. Medicine, 
therefore, has twenty-four lotones. The physician should administer his 
medicines with reference to these two series, so as to produce the same 
number of each in the microcosmus. When this is done Nature will cure the 
sick. The absence of such an equilibrium will sometimes cause death, 
when the disease itself has run its course. 


While any disease in itself is one, it has, as we have indicated, twenty- 
four numbers, degrees, or minims, and the lotones of the medicine must 

igS The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

correspond. The proportion of the dose to the disease in any particular case 
cannot be learnt from theory, but is gathered from experience only. The 
anatomy of the dose must correspond to the anatomy of the disease. It must 
not exceed the number twenty-four. Indeed, the object is to restore health, 
both to the nature of the Microcosm and to that of the external elements, 
when these agree in the body. The conjunction is the same as zinobrium, 
which is graded by minium. In that elementated exaltation, they afford 
their own exaltations to the virtues of the Microcosm, and so the grain 
passes into the scruple, the drachm, and loton, some, indeed, into the pound, 
some also into the kist, and others into the talent. 

Here ends the Book conxerning Degrees and Compositions. 



Concerning Antimony and Marcasite of Silver. 
Concerning White and Red Cachimia. 
Concerning Talc, Fluidic and Solid. 
Concerning Thutia, Calamine, and Litharge. 


The virtues of Antimony obtain in Morphew, Leprosy, Elephantis, 
Wounds, and Ulcers. 

Here follows the Preparation of Antimony for the Several 
Species of Leprosy. 
I^ Of the best pounded Antimony, Ib.j. 

Of highly distilled (sr'c), Ib.iiij. 
Of crude white Tartar, 
Reduce to a fine powder in a phial, distil by retort, and a red oil will result. 

The preparations of Antimony vary with the diseases for which it is 
administered. That which is used for wounds differs from that which is 
applied in the case of leprosy. And so of the rest. To take the same 
preparation of Antimony both in wounds and in leprosy would be a serious 

The preparation of Antimony for Elephantis is, however, the same as for 

' The Preparation of Antimony for Morphew. 

I^ Of the best pounded Antimony, 

Of calcined Tartar ) 
Of Alum J an equal quantity. 

Arrange In alternate layers; reduce in a fire of reverberation of the fourth 
grade ; then distil, and a thick red oil will come over. By alternate layers 

* It is in every way highly desirable that this important collection of Hermetic prescriptions should find place 
among the Hermetic Medicine of Paracelsus. It is of very considerable value as evidence of the extent to which 
mineral, and especially metallic, substances were applied by Theophrastus in all varieties of disease. The author's 
intention seems to have been the compilation of a whole alchemical pharmacy, and there is a small fragment extant of a 
.second book, under the title Ve Nasccntibus ex Terra, 

200 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

understand one layer of the Tartar and Alum, afterwards a layer of the 
Antimony, and so forward. 

The Preparation of Antimony for Wounds. 
I}i Of Antimony 

Of calcined Tartar ' 
Of AIcool of Wine, i kist. 
Mix ; distil by the alembic till the matter is resolved. 

I^ Of the substance dissolved as above, 5j. 

Of AIcool of Wine, 5'i'j- 
Dry by coagulation, and reduce into oil on a marble slab. 

There is no greater cure for wounds than that which is obtained from 
Antimony, except in wounds of the head. The Antimony should be distilled 
upwards till what is below becomes aqueous. 

The Preparation of Antimony for Ulcers. 
I^ Of Antimony \ 

Of Colcothar > any equal proportion. 
Of Flos Aeris ) 
Reduce S.S.S. to the grade of reverberation. Make an extract with red wine, 
and reduce into alkali. 

The said alkali made into an unguent with olive oil and laid over ulcers is 
of great healing virtue. 

Additions of Antimony for Leprosy. 
I^ Of the said Antimony, 5j. 
Of Oil of Wine Faeces, 5j. 

Of Oil of Bitter Almonds, to the weight of both the above. 
Mix. If there be no hoarseness of the voice, anoint once or twice every seven 
days. If the voice be hoarse, it is useless. 

Addition in Morphew. 
^ Of the said Antimony, 5j., with Kist, i.e., AIcool of Wine. 

Of Tragagantum, 5ij. 
Of consolidated Royal Mucilage \ 
Of Psyllus Seed \ each 5ij. 

Of Gum Arabic ] 

Make an unguent. The process is the same for Morphew and Alopecia. The 
unguent is to be applied warm, once or twice in every seven days. By this 
means the scab will rise up. If it peels off, the ulcer may be healed with the 
following unguent. 

I^ Of Spermiola \ 

Of Camphor J ^^"^ Sj-ss. 
Of Oil of Ceruse to the weight of both. 
Make an unguent. After the scab has come off the place must be anointed 
with this unguent every eight days. 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 201 

Addition for Wounds. 
^ Of the said prepared Antimony, 5vij. 

Of the juice of White Tartar ) 
Of Oil of Myrtles ) ^^""^ 5v- 

Mix. Apply once every other day, and no mischance need be feared. Note. — 
In summer, add camphor at pleasure. 

Addition for Ulcers. 
I?i Of the said prepared Antimony, giij. 

Of Oil of Colcothar, gss. 

Of Oil of Mastic (Oleum Lentiscinum) to the weight of both. 
Make an unguent. Anoint around the ulcer. This does not cure cancer, 
elephantis, or esthiomena. Oleum Lentiscinum. is oil from the bark of the 
mountain osier. 


The virtues of Litharge obtain in Cancer and Fistulas, in Tentigo Prava, 
Esthiomensis, Red Jaundice, Persian Fire, and Wounds. 

Here follows the Preparation of Litharge for Cancer. 
!^i Of pounded Litharge, 

Of Salt Water ) 

_^ . , i each Ib.i. 

Of Alum j ■' 

Of White Vinegar, Ib.iiij. 

Reduce over hot coals till their moisture is consumed. Take of the said 

Litharge with an equal quantity of spring water : reduce ad colores for a 

night, and dry. 

The same preparation of Litharge prevails in fistulas. 

Preparation for Esthiomensis. 

I}, Of Litharge, Ib.j. 

Of Calcined Tartar, 

Of Spring Water, or Aqua Fuliginis. a sufficient quantity. 

Of common melted Salt ) 

J each 5vj. 
Of Rock Alum ) 

Reduce according to the fourth grade of reverberation with the aforesaid 

water into an alkali. 

Aqua Fuligitiis is water from sooty roofs obtained during rain. 

Preparation for Red Jaundice. 

I5< Of Myrrh \ 

Of Frankincense | ^^'^^ BJ- 
Of Litharge, 3'"]- 
Of very strong Vinegar, 
Reduce into a decoction. 

202 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Preparation for Wounds. 
'Sy. Of Litharge, with four times Whitened Vinegar,, 

Of the juice of the herb Pellitory \ 
Of the lesser Comfrey \ an equal quantity. 

Of the round Aristolochy (Birthwort) 1 
Make a compound with mucilago lumbricata. 

Preparation of Litharge in Tentigo Prava. 
% Of washed Litharge, i lb. 

Of Rock Alum, Ib.jss. 
Mix. Pound well, place in the fourth grade of reverberation for four hours, then 
extract the alkali with spring water, together with the remaining litharge and 
rock alum in equal quantity. Pound as above till all the litharge has been used. 
The process should be as follows : When the litharge has been placed for 
four hours in rock alum, take of this distilled alkali, of fountain water, and 
of soot, each half a pound, and mix together. 

Preparation of Litharge for Persian Fire. 
B. Of Litharge, Ib.j. 

Of Red Realgar, gij. 
Of Sal Ammoniac, gss. 
Mix, and place in a sublimatory. This must be done ten or twelve times. 
Then pour on warm water, and let the litharge be separated. 

Addition in Tentigo Prava. 
Bf. Of the said Litharge,' 3j. 

Of Common Realgar, 5j. 

Of the juice or water of Chelidony, a sufficient quantity. 
Make into an unguent, anoint very thinly, and apply four or five times. The 
skin turns red, and the rank smell goes away. Then use the following 
recipe : — 
B; Of the said Litharge, gjss. 

Of mucilage of Foenugrek i 

Of Lumbrici Nitri ) ^" ^^"^1 sufficient quantity. 

Make into an unguent. Lumbrici Nitri are worms found in dung. 

Addition in Wounds. 

I^ Of the said Litharge, giiij. 

Of Oil of Camphor, 9j. 

Of Crocus of Mars, Siiij. 
Make into an unguent. 

Apply to the wound once or twice daily, and rub in well. 

Addition in Esthiomensis. 
Vv Of the said Litharge, §iiij. 

Of Powder of Chelidony | 
Of Oak Apples ( each Jij. 

Reduce to a powder. 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 203 

"Sf. Of the said Litharge, 5iij. 

Of Mucilage of Consolida \ 

Of Lumbrici Nitri V each a sufficient quantity. 

Of Oil of Myrrh ) 

Make into an unguent. The disease is cured thereby. 

Addition in Cancer. 
I5> Of the juice of Marrubius ) 

Of Persicary j ^^^h 3J. 

Of prepared Litharge, gij 

Of Oil of the Yolk of Eggs, a sufficient quantity. 
Compose an unguent. 

Addition in Red Jaundice. 
R Of prepared Litharge, Jss. 

Of Rock Alum, ii.oz. 
Of Salt Water, gjss. 

Addition in Persian Fire. 
R Of Elect Vitriol, giiij. 

Of Oak Apples, §ss. 
Of Frankincense, 5j. 

Of prepared Litharge, to the weight of all. 
Of Wine and Vinegar, as may be wanted. 
When it boils (? ferments) then it is to be used, and the more it boils the 
better it is. 


Gold or silver Marcasite has angles like tiles. The virtues of Marcasite 
are in Restriction of the Blood, the Menstrua, and Hemorrhoids. 

Preparation of Marcasite. 
R Of Marcasite, giiij. 

Of Pitch j 

Of Colophony j ^ach ^vi. 
Of Resin of the Fir, to the weight of all. 
Reduce to calx. 

To reduce into calx is to place in a brick kiln and burn till the resin flows 
out twice or thrice until it glows. 

Preparation in Restriction. 
R Of best pounded Marcasite, jij. 

Of Oil of Flax, 5vij. 
When these two are conjoined and set on fire, the true matter will remain. 

Preparation for Hemorrhoids. 
R Of Marcasite, 5JSS. 

Of best dried Alcool of Wine, Ib.j. 

204 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Addition in Restriction of the Blood. 
I}i Of the said Marcasite, 5j. 

Of Corals, 5ss. 
Of Plantain Seed, ^ss. 
Reduce to a fine powder. 

The powder is to be sprinkled upon the wounds, or mixed with vinegar, 
and be bound up below the wound ; thus it will hold it together. Those who, 
by reason of an accident, bring up blood, should drink it. 

Addition for Menstrua. 

I?! §ss. of this Marcasite, and as much as suffices of Oil of Sandarach. 

Make into an ointment. 

If the menstruum flow to excess, let the umbilicus be anointed twice 

or thrice. 

Addition for Piles. 

I^ Of the said Marcasite, 5iij- 

Of Sal Gemmee \ 
Of Mumia | 5j- each. 

Make into a powder. 

The swollen piles must be cut and then anointed. 


The virtues of Cachimia obtain in Dysentery, Diarrhoea, and Lienteria. 

Preparation for Dysentery. 
I^ Of Cachimia well ground, ^vj. 

Of Rust of Iron, §ss. 
Reduce by the second grade of fire for six or seven hours. Afterwards take 
out and reduce into alkali. 

Preparation for Diarrhcea. 
Ii» Of prepared Cachimia as above, and of Nutmeg what is sufficient 
for incorporation. Reduce to the second grade in the form of a bolus. 

Preparation for Lienteria. 
I5( Of Cachimia prepared as above, and of Gum Arabic dissolved in 
plantain water. Make a bolus. Reduce to second grade. 

Addition for Dysentery. 
'&^ Of the said Cachimia, 5ss. 

Of Boiled Dove, a sufficient quantity. 

Addition for Diarrhcea. 
IJi Of the said Cachimia, 5j. 

Of Theriaca, 5iij- 
Of Sealed Earth, 5ss. 
Make a bolus, the dose containing from 5j. even to Administer 
morning, noon, and evening. Abstain for three days. Afterwards repeat it. 
Do this thrice. 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 205 

Addition for Lienteria. 
^ Of prepared Cachimia, 5j. 

Of Crocus of Mars, 5ij. 
Of Red Corals, 5ss. 
Of Theriac, as required. 
Make a bolus ; the dose is from 5ij. even to iij. or iiij. morning and 
evening. Let a portion of this be administered daily. 

The virtues of Thutia are for spots in the eyes. 

Preparation for Spots in the Eyes. 
!{. Of Thutia, Jj. 

Of White Vitriol ) 

Of Juice of Eyebright J ^l"^' quantities. 

Make into a bolus with Gum Arabic, and bring to the second grade of fire. It 
becomes an unguent beneficial to the eyes. 

Preparation for White Spots in the Eyes. 
The Thutia must be extinguished in milk and placed for the night in rose 
water. This water removes the white speck when applied to it. 

For Wens. 
15. Of Thutia, giiij. 

Of Fused Salt ) 
Of Live Calx } ^^^^ §^J- 
S.S.S. 5vj. 
Arrange S.S.S. Apply fourth grade of fire ; reduce into alcali. 

Addition for the Spots of the Eyes. 
15. Of the said Vitriol, 5ss. 

Of Spawn of Frogs, Sij- 
Of Laterine Oil, 3ss. 
Make an eye salve. If yellow spots appear in the eye and sparkle, they return. 

Addition for Wens. 

IJ. Of the said Thutia, 5j. 

Of White Vitriol, 5vij. 

Of pounded Camphor, 3jss. 

Make a mixture with water of roses or fennel. This disease attacks all pedal 

animals. The wen assails the eyes of goats, other animals, and men. In the 

case of human beings camphor must be administered with it, lest inflammation 


Addition for Wens. 

'Bf. Of the said Thutia, '%]. 

Of Sal Anatron, or Gall of Glass ) 

Of Fused Salt J ^J" '"'='• 

Of distilled urine, and giiij. 

2o6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Mix. The process consists in administering this potion to such as are 
afflicted with wens, in the morning and in the evening, for three or four 
weeks. This medicine removes all wens, except grisonum. 

The virtues of Talc obtain in ulcers and humid wounds. 

Preparation for Wounds. 
I}> Ib.j. of Talc and an equal weight each of Cinder of Beans and of Oats. 
Reduce at the fourth fire for a day and night ; cleanse and dry. Talc dries 
the bottom or base of the wound, so that it does not change into a fistula. It 
also powerfully desiccates ulcers. It must not be used beyond the third day. 

Addition for Wounds and Ulcers. 

^. Of the said Talc, Jj. 

Of Liquor of Mumia ) 

^<- -ITT , J T, . I each q.s. for an unguent. 

Of Washed Turpentine ) ^ ^ 

Cures eating, cancerous, and other suppurating ulcers. 


The virtues of Calamine are suitable for plasters, eye salves, and the 
Persian fire. Add Calamine both for ulcers and for wounds, for plasters 
where a growth of fresh flesh is required, also for eye salves where neither 
albugo or spots of the eyes are present, as in the case of red eyes, where the 
greatest experience is requisite. 

Preparation of Calamine for Plasters. 
I^ Of Washed (that is pure) Calamine, |j. 

Of Colcothar j 

Of Live Sulphur ( each 
Arrange in layers and apply the fourth fire for a day and night. Reduce by the 
second ablution. 

Preparation for Unguent. 

R Of the said prepared Calamine, Jiij. 

Of the Oil of the Yolk of Eggs, 5j. 
Make a bolus with gum arable ; reduce at a fire of the second grade for 
four hours, then reduce by ablution. 

For the Eyes. 
I^ Of the said prepared Calamine, Jj. 

Of Distilled Vinegar, Jvj. 
Make an extraction ; then dry it. 

Preparation for Persian Fire. 
^ Of Crude Calamine, 

Of Water of Water Lily, gvj. 
Of Alumen Plumosum, Jss. 
Reduce these by digestion in a glass for the space of a week, and distil. 

Preparations hi Alchemical Medicine. 207 

It is a recipe of Geber. Petrus de Archilata errs in the process : for the 

medicine is to be used for pandarlcia, but not for combustions. 

I^ Of Apostolic Plaster, §vj. 

Of the said Calamine, Jss. 

Of Camphor, 5j- 
Make a plaster. 

For Unguents. 

I^ Of Agrippine Unguent, giiij. 

Of Unguent of the Flower of Copper, |ss. 

Of the said Calamine, 5x. 

Make a mixture. Most excellent for ulcers, itch, and scab. 

Addition for Eye Salve. 
]^ Of the said Calamine, gj. 

Of Water of Eyebright \ 
Of Water of Fennel \ 5iij. 

Of Water of Roses ) 

To be applied at night. 

Addition for Persian Fire. 
IJi Of the said Calamine, gvj 

Of Waters of Vitriol and Oak Apples 
Some use cobblers' atrament for Persian fire and red jaundice. 


Concerning Bloodstone, Arsenic, Sulphur, Saxifrage, Orpiment. 


The virtues or chief arcana of Bloodstone are for bloody ulcers, resolved 
menstrua, premature profluvia of the matrix, lax dysentery, diarrhoea. 

Preparation for Bloody Ulcers. 

I^ giij. of Bloodstone, and giij. each of hitum Lephanteum (that is, clay 
from which small cucurbits are made), and of Bolus Armenus. Make a bolus 
with traganth dissolved in vinegar : Reduce by the fourth grade of reverbera- 
tion ; then extract the alkali. 

In the case of wounds, of lupus, and of herpata, bloodstone proves 
extremely beneficial. It binds the veins so that the flow of blood ceases. Let 
it be sprinkled upon the parts. 

Preparation of Bloodstone for Menstrua. 
I^ Of Bloodstone, §iiij. 

Of Mastic dissolved, §x. 
Of Carabe, ^jss. 
Make a mixture with a decoction of water of alum ; reduce by ablution. 

The flow of menstrua should be checked when it causes pallor in the face. 
The use of this preparation is safe, and effects a complete cure. After 
decoction for seven hours lute is produced from bloodstone, out of which 
trochisks are made for menstrua. 

The Preparation for Immature Menstrua is as follows : — 
I^ Of Bloodstone, gj. 

Of Oil of Nutmeg \ 

Of Oil of Grains of Actis \ giij. 
Of Petroleum j 

Reduce into a composition. The dose is 3j. It ought to be administered with 
water of roses, decocted with roots of plantain, or with water of plantain. 

Bloodstone stops profluvium sine torsura. But if there are gripings, it is 
the generation of the stone. 

Preparation for Loose Dysentery. 
I^ Of Bloodstone ] 

Of Red Corals [ each. 
Of Spodium / 

Of Tanacetum, to the weight of all. 
Make trochisks with mucilage of the glue of botin. The dose is 5ss. 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 209 

Preparation for Diarrhcea. 
Vf Of Ice Alum \ 

Of Bloodstone \ equal quantities. 

Of Crocus of Mars j 
Make trochisks of gum arable dissolved in plantain water. The dose is from 
5j. to 5J.SS. 

Water of plantain is to be extracted from the roots and herbs. The 
cornelian, if carried in the hand, stops blood, but not so bloodstone. 

Addition for Bloody Ulcers. 
IV Of Prepared Bloodstone, 5ss. (al. 3j.) 

Of Oak Apples, 9ss. 
Of Seraphinus, 

Of Oil of Kerua (Keyri) from Violets, sufficient for incorporation. 
Let an unguent be made. In cases of acute ulcers, add in place of Oil of 
Keyri a proportion of the Liquor of Mumia, as in the case of herpeta, and in 
eating and cancerous ulcers. 

Addition for Menstrua. 
IV Of Bloodstone, Sj. 

Of Long Pepper \ 
Of Nutmeg j ^^""^ ^^s. 

Of Cinder of Frogs' Follicles, giiij. 
Make trochisks with Mint Water. The dose if from 9ss. even to 

Addition for Dysentery. 
Let the prepared Bloodstone be given in red wine. Therein let iron be 
extinguished or let it be given with Tyriaca. 

Addition for Diarrhcea. 
IV Of the said Bloodstone, 5iij. 

Of Pearls, 9ss. 

Of Liquefied Mumia, to the weight of all. 
Mix. The dose is from 5iij. to iij. or iiij. 


By Saxifrage understand any stone which removes growths like tartars, 
mosses, sand, frost, and hail. 

Saxifrage is properly a pale crystal, called also Citrine Stone or Citrinole 
Stone. Citrine Stone stands between crystal and yellow beryl. Let the 
liquor be produced after the mode of an alkali. The dose is 3ss. in good 


First Preparation for Sand, Moss, Frost, Hail. 

IV Of Saxifrage, gj. 

Of Borax, 5ij. 

Of Salgemmse, 5vj. 

Of Fused Salt, 5J. 


2IO The Hermetic mid Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Reduce S.S.S. at a fire of reverberation through the fourth grade, 

from the setting of the sun till morning. Reduce into alcali. The dose is 

3ss. in white wine. 

Second Preparation. 

Take of the said Saxifrage 3j. Reduce it by itself to the fourth grade of 

reverberation. Also take : — 

I^ Of Reverberated Saxifrage, 5j. 

Of Cinder of the root of larger Radish, 5j. 

Of Alkali of the roots of Petroselinon, 9j. 

Make a mixture by itself. The dose is from 9j. to 9iij. or iiij. 

First Addition. 
I?i Of the said Saxifrage, 5j- 

Of Millet of the Sun, 5ij. 
Of White Wine, §x. 
The dose is from giiij. to vj. 

Second Addition. 

IJi Of the Saxifrage, 5j-ss. 

Of Seed of Parsley 

Of Seed of Parsley ) 

Of Rocket i ^^^'^Sj. 

Of Clarified aqtia mulsa, gx. 
The dose is from Jii'j. to vj. or vij. 

It is necessary to continue this prescription as long as the tartarised urine 


The virtues of Arsenic are for ulcers, wounds, and other openings. 
Arsenic is a soot out of metals, and especially from lead, and it is 
realgar or fulgurr (or soot) out of metals. 

The First Preparation is the Reduction of Arsenic into Mumia. 
During the preparation the venom must be removed. Nothing cures 
ulcers and wounds more perfectly than prepared arsenic. It also cures 
Syrones and all ulcers, gangrenes, and fistulas. The arsenic from lead is the 
best. Next, that which exudes from iron and resembles copper. 

The Second Preparation of Arsenic is the Reduction of 
Arsenic into Balm. 

The Third is the Reduction into Liquor. 
Arsenic has three preparations, into Mumia, Balsam, and Liquor. 
I^ Of White Arsenic, gvj. 

Of Fused Salt, ) . 
Of Colcothar, ) ^ 
Mix and reduce to the second grade of reverberation for three or four hours. 
Take out. 

It must be removed from the top five or six times, pounded, and again 
prepared as above. This must be repeated five or six times. 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 2 1 1 

Preparation of Balsam. 
^ Of White Arsenic, gx. 

Of Talc, ^iiij. 
Of Live Calx, ^xv. 
Make a subtle mixture. Reduce to the fourth grade of reverberation for 24 
hours. It is like glass and the venom sticks at the bottom of the calx. That 
vi^hich is removed from the top is to be pounded and placed in a glass vessel. 
Let it be set in a cellar, whereupon an oil or balsam will come forth. 

Preparation of Liquor. 
I^ Of Crude or White Arsenic, 

Of Saltnitre, Ib.j. 
Of SalgemmcE, gss. 
Pound. Reduce in an open reverberatory for twenty- four hours. 

If these being united are placed over a fire of reverberation, the Arsenic 
glows fcr three hours ; afterwards it liquefies. In this condition it is poured 
into water, and coagulated after the manner of an alkali. 

Addition for Balsam. 
I?. Of the said Balsam, 5iij. 

Of Oil of Yolk of Eggs, 5x. 
Of Distilled Turpentine, 5j. 
Mix. Like Mumia, the balsam is to be applied for the space of twelve hours. 

Addition for Liquor. 
'S^ Of the said Liquor, 5xv. 

Of Skins of Pomegranate, 5vj. 

Of the Bark of the Frankincense Tree, 5ij. 

Of Mucilage of Botin, to the weight of all. Mix. 


Orpiment is a Yellow Minera like gold. 

The virtues of Orpiment obtain in fistulas, cancers, and eating ulcers. 

Preparation for Fistula. 
I}> Of Orpiment, ^. 

Of Calcined Tartar, Jiij. 
Arrange in alternate layers. 

Reduce by fourth grade of reverberation for a day and night, that is, 
for twenty-four hours. 

It melts when thus decocted. Let it be removed again, pounded, and 
poured into water, whereupon a white powder will settle at the bottom, which 
is the prepared Orpiment. 

If it be put into a glass, an oil results, which must be injected into the 
fistula, or it may be applied by means of a rag. But let ulcers be sprinkled 
with the powder. 


2 1 2 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Preparation for Cancer. 
I^ Of Orpiment, §v. 

Of Fuligo, §ss. 
Of Sal Ammoniac, giij. 
Reduce by the fourth grade of reverberation a day and a night. Reduce into 
alcali. Alcali is the chief arcanum for cancer. 

Preparation for Esthiomenis. 
I^ Of Orpiment, §iij. 

Of Calcined Alum, gvj. 
Reduce by the fire as above with extraction of alcali. 

Addition for Fistulas. 
1$! Of the said prepared Orpiment, 5ss. 

Of Resin of Pine, §j. 
Of Wax, to the weight of all. 
Make into a cerotum. It is to be applied for fistulas. 

Addition for Cancer. 
I^ Of prepared Orpiment, 5v. 

Of Cinders of Pigeons' Dung \ 
Of Oil of Yolk of Eggs 1 'l-^- ^°' unguent. 

This is used for cancer. 

Addition for Eating Ulcers. 
I^ Of Orpiment, 5v. 

Of Liquor of Mumia, 5ij. 
Of Oil of Roses, 

Of Mucilage of the Seed of Fleawort, to the weight of all. 
Make an unguent or cataplasm. Should the sick person complain of heat, 
the ulcer must be anointed with oil of camphor previous to application of the 


The virtues of Sulphur apply in cases of very acute imposthumes and 
asthma ; they serve to maintain health. Imposthumes include pleurisy, pest, 
and the like. 

The Following is the Preparation for Extremely Acute Ulcers. 

Iji Of Live Sulphur, Ib.j. 

Of Colcothar 


Of Fused Salt 

Make a fine powder ; reduce by sublimation. As soon as it has been 
sublimated, make an addition again, and sublimate thrice as above. Live 
Sulphur coheres in fragments, and is not yet dissolved. 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 


Preparation for Asthma. 

I}> Of Fused Sulphur, Ib.j. 

Of Shavings of Red Sandal '\ 

Of Cypress Shavings \ each to the weight of the Sulphur. 

Of Pine Shavings ] 

Arrange in layers. Reduce by fire of reverberation, finally into alcali. 

I^ Of this Alkali, Jx. 

Of Myrrh, Jv. 

Preparation to Conserve Health. 

I^ Of Sulphur, giiij. 

Of Oriental Crocus 

Of Myrobalani 

Of Chebuli 

Of Bellirici 

Of Oil of Juniper Seeds, sufficient for incorporation. 

Sublime by a very slow fire. 

Addition for Very Acute Imposthumes. 
IJi Of this prepared Sulphur, Jss. 

Of Oil of Nutmeg, 5j. 
Of prepared Aqua Veronica, to the weight of all. 

each 5j. 

Make a potion. 

Make a bolus. 


Addition for Asthma. 
% Of the said Sulphur, §ss. 

Of corrected Thebanus, 5iij. 
Of Tyriaca, q.s. 
The dose is from 3j. to two or three. 

Addition for Conservation of Health. 
Of the said Sulphur, §ss. 

Of Red Myrrh ) , j ^• 

. „ } ^ss. each and ay 

Of Oriental Crocus j "^ 

Of Aloepaticus, to the weight of all. 


Concerning Gems, Transparent and Otherwise ; of Corals, the Magnet, 

THE Crystal, Rubies, Garnets, Sapphires, Emeralds, Hyacinths, &c. 

Every Stone possessed of Medical Virtues is a Gem. 


The virtues of Coral are for menstruum and profluvium ; poison taken 
internally ; thunderings or rumbling of the stomach ; charms, if any be 
enchanted ; obsession, if any be mad ; nervousness, if any be timorous ; 
melancholy, for those who appear wise in their own eyes but are foolish. The 
virtue and the substance is one and the same. Virtue is a thing by itself. 
Coral simples restrict urine and evacuation, and after a long time the 
menstrua. When prepared their operation is sudden and safe. 

Preparation of Corals to Restrain Menstruum and Profluvium. 
1^ Of Corals, Jss. 

Of Oil of Myrtles, 5j. (al. gss.) 
Of Olibanum, Jj ss. 
Of Fused Salt, gij. 
Make a mixture ; reduce by calcination through the fourth grade of reverbera- 
tion for twelve hours or more ; afterwards reduce by ablution with water of 
plantain. Corals restrict urine but not menstruum. 

Preparation of Corals against Internal Poisoning. 
^^ Of Corals, thoroughly pounded, §ij. 

Of Waters of Ligusticum, 
Of Sal Gemmse ) 
Of White Vitriol j ^^'^^ ^'J" 
Reduce by digestion in the second grade of fire for a month ; take out the 
red and coagulate. For poisons the medicine must be without a body ; for 
poison is also without a body. The red which settles at the bottom is a good 
remedy against poison. 

Preparation for Rumblings in the Stomach. 
li Of Corals, 5vi. 

Of Cinders \ 

Of Roman Cummin > each 5iii. 
Of Beans ) 

Of prepared Alum to the weight of each. 
Mix these. Reduce by digestion with of desiccated alcool ; desiccate. 
It becomes yellow alt over. This preparation of corals ought to be used for 
diacymimiim. The colour becomes red when the corals have been prepared. 
Separate and desiccate. 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 215 

Preparation of Corals against Charms, Obsession, Nervousness, 

AND Melancholy. 
^ Of Corals, ^iij. 

Of Glue of Oak, 5iiij. 
Of St. John's Wort, ^iiij. 
Of Storax Calamita \ 
Of Laudanum \ each 

Of Gum ) 

Of distilled wine add Ib.ij. Reduce by decoction in a closed alembic for a day 
and a night. Distil and pour over again as above. 

Corals, if prepared in this manner, become red and exceedingly hard. 
Consequently, they must first be pounded. 

Addition for Menstruum. 
B" Of prepared Corals, 

Of Tanacetum ) 

c\c -D\ ^ • \ ^'^'^^ yj-ss. 

Of Plantam ) ^ 

Of Long Pepper 

Of Nutmeg ' "^"'^ ^^^- 

Make a powder. The dose is 3j. in a tempered e.g^. 

When salt is injected into the ^%^, it must also be eaten, otherwise it 
does no good. 

Addition for Corals against Poison. 
li Of prepared Corals, 9 v. 

Of Theriac, gss. 

Of Root of Larger Lapathius, to the weight of all. 
Of Alcool of desiccated Wine, 
Reduce by digestion for a week. The dose is from gr.xv. to 9ij. 

One who has drunk poison should have administered to him 5ij. of water 
of bullace or of roses. Let it be repeated several times, so as to produce 
perspiration, until the evil be felt no longer. 

Addition for Rumblings. 
li Of the said Corals, 5y- 

Of Species of Diacymini, 3iiij. 

Of prepared Blood of the Goat, to the weight of all. 
Make a physical powder with Saccharum ; the dose acts as a sedative. 

The Goat of the Spagyrists is the castrated young of a coney. It must be 
fed with aperient herbs, then it is good. 

Addition for the other three species. 
I}i Of the said prepared Coral, 5viiij- 

Of Masterwort, 5j. 
Of Angelica, 5v. 
Of Glue of Oak, 
Mix with water of St. John's Wort : the dose is from Jss. to 5vj. 
This is the best medicament at the commencement of tympanis. 

2i6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

It has a virtue for wounds and ulcers cumflaxis et ramentis. 

Preparation for the above. 
Vf Of the Magnet, 3J. 

Of Calx of Eggs, 5ij. 
Make S.S.S. in the fourth grade of the fire of reverberation for a day and a 
night. Remove the calx of eggs. 

Another Preparation. 
B. Of Magnet, 5j. 

Of Calx of Eggs, gvj. 
Set in layers in a crucible. Place in a fire of reverberation a day and a night. 
Extract, and it will be prepared. 

Otherwise, if not prepared by pounding, it misses its true extractive 
efficacy. But if previously prepared, then pounded and mixed, the 
oppodeltoch has an excellent effect. 

Addition for Wounds cum Flaxis et Ramentis. 
I^ Of the Magnet, ^ss. 

Of Carabe, gij. 
Make a subtle powder with of the plaster oppodeltoch or plaster of 
apostolico. Reduce to a wine by shaking. 

This plaster when applied extracts splinters of bone, and bullets received 
from guns, out of ulcers and other wounds. If the magnet be pounded in 
unprepared condition, it loses its efficacy, but if you pound and mingle with 
apostolico, it extracts by itself. Unprepared it effects nothing. 


The crystal has the property of producing an abundance of milk if 
administered internally to women. 

Preparation of Gems by Diaphanitas. 

The preparation of gems is fourfold. First, by reverberation. Secondly, 
by calcination. Thirdly, by elevation, and in the fourth place by means of 

A woman requires over Ib.j. of crystal before she experiences an increase 
of milk. Accordingly prepared crystal is necessary. 

Reverberation of Crystal, 
'Bf. Of Crystal, Ib.j. 

Of Water of Entali, lb ij. 
Make a mixture by imbibition. Reduce by reverberation for twenty-four 

Thus there is left from Ib.j. a verto (that is, a kind of weight). Dose Sij. 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 217 

Calcination of Crystal. 

B^ Of Crystal, ^iiij. 

Of Mastic \ 

Of Colophony \ ^ij. each. 
Of Sulphur ) 
Reduce in an athanor. The dose is 5j. 

An athanor is a furnace in which things are burnt. 

Elevation of Crystal. 
R Of Crystal, gj. 

Of Sal Ammoniac, giij. 
Reduce in a sublimatory to powder. The sublimation is to be performed five 
or six times and the crystal is always to be removed. 

R Of the said elevated Crystal, §ss. 

Of common distilled Water, Siiij. 
Reduce to an alkali. Dose 5ss. 

Distillation of Crystal. 
I^ Of elevated Crystal, gj. 

Of Water of Nitre, and i 

Of Alumen without distillation j 3'J- ^^ch. 
Reduce into digestion for three or four days ; then distil ; coagulate that 
which is distilled, and dissolve the coagulate. 

Coagulation must take place over a slow and small fire. This coagulate, 
if placed in a cellar, passes into water, which is the last preparation of the 
crystal. The dose is 3j. With all other valuable gems the preparation is as 
with the crystal. 

The chief virtue of rubies is for dysentery. The dose is §j. if crude, but 
if reverberated then the dose is 5ij' After calcination the dose is 5j- After 
elevation, 3ss. After distillation, 3j. 

Also garnets, thus distilled, constitute a most powerful salve for spots of 
the eyes. 

Emeralds, if prepared by means of distillation, are beneficial to those 
with bloodshot eyes. 

Sapphires, being prepared to the third or fourth preparation, remove 
trembling of the heart if prepared into distillation. The dose is gr.v. 
Sapphires dispel synthena and palpitation. 

The case is the same with the other gems. Bartholemew, the English- 
man, has written voluminously concerning gems and precious stones. 

Additions for the Generation of the Milk of Crystals. 
I^ Of the said Crystal prepared, 5ij. 

Of Spermaceti ) ..... , 

'^ \ 3uii. and ss. 

Of Seed of Lettuce j 

Make a powder with administration of water of almonds. 

2 1 8 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Addition of Garnets for Trembling of the Heart and 
Bloodshot Eyes. 
'2f Of Garnets, gss. 

Of Aloe Epaticus, 5iii. 
Of Prepared Sulphur, 
Mix with clarified Zuccarum. The dose is from 5ij. to 5ij. This medicine 
must be diligently administered and continued for five days, although the 
trembling of the heart may disappear previously. 

Addition of Sapphire. 
% Of Sapphire, 5iy- 

Of Dissoved Amber, 5j-ss. 
Of Storax Calamita, 9j. 
Make a mixture. The dose is from 3j. even to 

The Emerald strengthens women in labour, and is the sovereign 
arcanum for their ailments if prepared by distillation, as crystal. 
I^ Of the said Emerald prepared, 9j. 

Of Liquor of Melissa, 5j- 
Of Southernwood, 5U* 
Mix. The dose is from three to six drops. 

Addition for Prepared Jacinth. 
^ Of Prepared Jacinth, 

Of Laudanum, that is, gum, 
Mix. This is a chief arcanum for fevers arising from putrefaction of air or 
of water. Should fevers of this kind be usual with any persons, let them 
drink, every new moon, four or five drops ; thus they will be safe from 
being attacked a second time, and will be absolutely secure during the new 



Sal Gemm^, Sal Entali, Sal Peregrixorum, Aluminous Salt, Sal Alcali, 
Sal Nitri, Sal Anatron, Sal TERRiE, Salt from Vitriol. 
All Salts are from the element of water, as also are all alums. 


The virtues of Vitriol obtain in falling sickness, suffocations of the 
Matrix, Siphita Stricta, or Noctambulones, Gutta, and Obesity. 

The varieties of falling sickness are Analentia, Catalentia, Epilenlia, etc. 
The administraiion of Vitriol is the same in all. 

"Bf. Of cuprine Vitriol, ilb. Reduce by separation from the phlegmatic 
part. Reduce the said phlegmatic part over its colcothar. Distil. Reiterate 
in the fourth grade of fire. The dose is from 3ss. to 9j. before and after 
the paroxysm. 

If the disease arises from the element of Vitriol, it is cured by Vitriol. 
The disease of falling sickness is occasioned by salt of Vitriol. The medicine 
is to be administered during the paroxysm and on the day when it is expected. 
Epilepsy is a mineral disease ; its cure is also mineral, that is, by the salts of 
Vitriol, and by the spirits before and after the paroxysm. Before the 
paroxysm the body is in great agitation ; after the paroxysm the patients 
sleep. The medicine should be given after the sleep, while the body is still 
under the excitement thereof. When the body is healthy it should not be 

Preparation of Vitriol for Suffocation of the Matrix. 
I?> Of Vitriol, purged from Phlegma and Colcothar, Jij. 

Of Pennywort, giij. 
Of Alcool of Wine, 3ss. 
Reduce by distillation. The dose is from 9ss. to 9j. This is the most 
efficacious medicine for the complaint in question. 

Preparation for Gutta and Siphita Stricta. 
In Gutta— 

Vf. Of the said prepared Vitriol, jij. 

Of Alcool of Wine, %\y 

Of Jamen Alum, gss. 
Reduce into liquids by the fourth grade of fire ; applied externally, the dose is 
5ss. Applied internally, the dose is from six to nine grains. 
Jamen alum is white, like that of Crete, and sweetish. 

220 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

The outside application is on the place of the Syntheoma, and this is 
where the disease begins, that is, in pulsu, which is the Syntheoma thereof. 
But if the patient still walks, the medicament is then to be bound about the 
pulse of the wrist and the neck. For siphita parva castigation is an effectual 
medicine, but it is of no use for siphita stricta. In gutta the medicament 
should be placed on the tip of the tongue. The paralysis being arrested, 
apply to mouth and tongue. It is the best medicament for the complaint. 

Addition in Epilentia. 

I^ Of the said Vitriol, 5j. 

Of the Viscous Liquor of the Oak with Orisons, each 9ss. and gran. iij. 

The Syntheoma of Caducus is in the nape of the neck. In the case of 
young persons to anoint the nape of the neck with castor oil after the paroxysm 
is an excellent method. 

Addition in Siphita Stricta. 

It Of the said prepared Vitriol, 5j. 

Of Seed of St, John's Wort, gss. 
Of Amber, gr.vj. 
Mix. Seed of St John's Wort takes away Siphita Stricta. 

Addition in Suffocation of the Matrix. 

Bf. Of the said Liquor of Vitriol, gr.vij. 

Of Grains of Actis, 5j- 

Of Alcool of Wine, to the weight of both. 
Make into a composition. 

Unless the spot is on the umbilicus let it be applied thereto. Should there 
be suffocation attended with vomiting, the medicaments previously mentioned 
are to be taken internally. The most important preparation of vitriol is to 
separate it from colcothar. Then add an equal quantity of alcool of wine. 
This done, place burnt bread (namely, bread made ex furfure scalino, which is 
dried so that it can be pounded in a mortar) in liquor of- vitriol. Next set it 
for a month in horse-dung. Then prepare alcool, by means of a bath of the 
first grade, from vitriol. If the vitriol has lost its acetivity, its strength is 


There are external species, as scotomia and spots of the eyes. 

The virtues of White Vitriol obtain in affections of the external parts of 
the eyes, and in Neutha. Sometimes a cuticle covers the eyes or the ears of 
children at their birth. Neutha are pellicles growing anywhere from time 
of birth, as on the face, on the mouth, the eyes, ears, etc. White vitriol is a 
great cure in such cases, and also for exterior complaints of the eyes. 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 221 

Preparation for External Diseases of the Eyes. 
I^ Of White Vitriol, 5V. 

Of Oil of Siligo, 5ss. 
Of Oil of Camphor, S'j- 
Putrefy for a month by means of horse-dung, and distil by descension. 

Oil is produced out of Siligo. The Siligo is placed on a red hot iron 
plate, when it becomes encircled by a kind of grease, which is the oil in 
question. If, after birth, a pellicle covers the neighbourhood of the eyes, it 
must be most carefully treated with water of eyebright, of roses, or of 

Preparation of Vitriol in Neutha. 
I^ Of White Vitriol, 3j. 

Of Oil of Tartar, 5vi. 

Of Laterine Oil, 5v. 
Distil together. 

Neutha (Teutha) should never be cauterized. 

Addition in External Complaints of the Eyes. 
I^ Of prepared Vitriol, 9j. 

Of Liquor of Eyebright, 3ij. 
Of Red Poppy, 5j. 
Make an eye salve. 


The virtues of Rock Alum obtain in open ulcers, scab, itch, eating ulcers, 
putrid, lascivious, and humid ulcers. 

First Preparation. 
^ Of Rock Alum, Ib.ij. 

Of White Vinegar, 
Of Burnt Salt, one verto. 
Mix till it passes from ebullition to coagulation. Then distil. 

If open (cavernous) ulcers are washed with this water, the result is 
wonderful. If they are not thus cured nothing else will avail. 

Another Preparation. 
I^ White (? Alum), Ib.x. 

Of the Juice of Chelidony 
Of the Juice of Plantain 
Of Pellitory, 
Distil. Take of this water Ib.j., and of common water Ib.x. Make a lixivium. 
Foment warm in the case of alopecia, tinea, and ulcers. 


The virtues of Alumen Plumosum obtain in paralysis, lethargy, and 
benumbed limbs. 

I each Ib.j. 


The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Preparation for Paralysis. 
I^ Of Alumen Plumosum, §vi. 

Of resolved Coleothar, ^ 
Of Sal Ammoniac, 5iiij. 
Resolve. Alumen Plumosum confers strength imperceptibly. Hence it is the 
best medicament for paralysis. 

Addition for Lethargy and Benumbed Limbs. 
15. Of the said prepared Alum, §j. 

Of Dragon's Blood, giij. 
Of Liquor of Mummy, 5vij. 
Make an unguent. The seat of the disease is in the occiput and in the nape 
of the neck. 

The virtues of Entali are in profluvium and haemorrhoids. 

I^ Of common Tartar, 

«.. ^ ,. 1 each 5ii. 

Of Entali, ) ^^ 

Of Karabe, 3j. 

Of Mastic, gij. 

Reduce by reverberation to the second grade, and afterwards into alkali. 

In profluvium the seat is in the umbilicus ; in hsemorrhoids it is in the 


Addition in Profluvium. 

"Bf. Of the said prepared Entali, 5j- 

Of burnt Bolus, 5"]- 

Of corrected Hematite, 5j-ss. 


Addition in Haemorrhoids. 
"Sf Of the said prepared Entali, '^\\y 

Of prepared Corals, 9iiij. 
Of Oil of Nutmeg, as required. 

Make an unguent. 


Anachthron is a salt growing in rocks, and is like a moss in appearance. 
When the said moss is decocted a salt results, that is, glass gall. Its virtues 
obtain in fistulas, cincilla or cintilla (diarrhoea), and scropulas. Cintilla is 
from the diaphragm, and it is cured by pure anatron. 
IJi Of Anatron, gvj. (al. Sj.) 

Of Bean Ashes, Jij. 
Reduce by the fourth grade of reverberation for twelve hours; extract the 

each 5j. 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 223 

Anathron with deer grease is good for cincilla. Anathron possesses a 
volatile Mercury, which must be corrected. It is then an addition in fistulas, 
cincillas, and scrofulas. 

IJi Of the said Anatron, ^U- 

Of crude Butter, 5iiij- 
Of the Fat of Marmots, giij. 
Make an unguent. The said unguent is the best for fistulas, cintillas, and 


Sal Gemmae is called Sal Granatum by the Spagyrists and Sal Lucidum. 
It is a laxative of intense salt, i.e., of cholera, and is like colocinthis. It 
cures jaundice, yellow dropsy, and sufferings arising from corrupt blood. 

Preparation in Dropsy and Jaundice. 
!{■ Sal Gemmas 

Of Tithymal, i.e , Esula Major (al. Minor) 
Of Gum of Cherries, to the weight of both. 
Make a bolus. Reduce by the third grade of reverberation for two hours ; 
extract the alkali. The dose is from eight to twelve grains. 

You may use it in place of diagridium, and add trochisks of alhandal. 


"^ Of Sal Gemmse, 3ss. 

Of Rebotium (i.e. true Mumia), ) , „.... 
^ ' } each 3nij. 

Of Liquor of Centaury, ) 

Make a compost. The dose is from four or five to ten or twelve grains 

in an egg. 

Preparation in other Diseases. 

I^ Of the said Sal Gemmae, 3j. 

Of the Juice of Cataputia, §ij. 

Of Ground Flour, to the weight of all. 

Make a roasted loaf. The dose is from 5j to 5ij. 

The virtues of Sal Peregrinorum obtain in fortifying the digestion, also 
against infection of the air, and against future imposthumes. 

Prescription of Hermes. 

B, Of Burnt Salt Nitre, j ^^^^ ^._ 

Of Sal Gemmae, j 

Of Galanga, \ 

Of Mace, ( each 9j. 

Of Cubebae, ) 

Make a powder. The dose is three grains in the morning. It prevails 

against seasickness, and confers long life on old persons. 

2 24 Th' Hermetic and Alchemical Writitigs of Paracelsus. 

Preparation of Sal Peregrinorum. 

R Of the said Salt, §iij. 

Of dried Alcool of Wine, 
Extract the alkali. 

15. Of the said Alkali, 5j. 

Of the Liquor of Juniper Seeds, one kist. 

Make a compost. The dose is one grain. 


Sal Nitri obtains in pleurisy and open ulcers. 

Preparation in Pleurisy. 
R Of Sal Nitri, 

Of Crude Tartar, Ib.j. 
Distil in sextum alembicum. The dose is from 3j. to in spring water 
or good wine, in the morning, at evening, and at midnight. Administer 
often. It purges through the urine. 

Preparation in open Ulcers. 
15. Of Alumen, 

Distil into water. 

Of Nitre, ' ^^'^^ '''■^^- 
Of Spring Water, Ib.ij. 

Addition against Pleurisy. 
R Of the said Nitre, 9ij. 

Of Aqua Regis, 3ss. 
Of dried Alcool of Wine, 5v. 
Mix. The dose is 5ss. or 

Addition for open Wounds. 
R Of Plantain Water, \ 

Of Chelidony, \ each 

Of Oak Leaves, ) 

Use for ulcers of the legs. 


Concerning Gold, Silver, Tin, Copper, Iron, Lead, Mercury. 


The virtues of Gold obtain in Paralysis, Synthena, Fevers, Palpitation 
of the Heart, complaints of the Matrix, Ethica, Peri-pneumonia, and in 
acute diseases generally. 

Preparation for Paralysis, Palpitation, and Synthena. 
B" Of pure Gold, purged from its alloys, 5ij. 

Of the water of Sal Gemmas, §vj. 
Reduce into one by separation with alcool of wine. Then — 
I?i Of the Crocus, 5ij. 

Of corrected Alcool, 5vi. 
Mix. The dose is from three or four to six grains. 

Preparation in Fevers and Acute Maladies. 
I^ Of melted Leaves of Gold from the Water of Honey, 5j. 

Of Alcool of Wine, ^ij. 
Reduce by separation from the honey. The dose is from 9ss. to 3j. 

Preparation for Complaints of the Matrix, Ethica, and Peripneumonia. 
I^ Of Gold extinguished in Chelidony Water, 5xiij. 

Of Indian Myrobalani, ) u q • 

Of Chebuli, j ^^'^ •'■ 

Reduce to digestion for a week by separating the superfluous aquosit) . The 
dose is from 9 j. to 5j. 

Addition for Paralysis, Palpitation, and Synthena. 
^ Of the said prepared Gold, 9j. 

Of Lavender Water, with corrected Alcool of Wine, and Spicula, each §i. 

Dose, 9 j. 

Addition in Fevers and Acute Stages. 

I^ Of the said prepared Gold, 9iiij. 

Of the juice of Centaury, \ 
Of the juice of Sage, ) SU- 

Dose, from 9ss. to 

Addition in Complaints of the Matrix, Ethica, and Peripneumonia. 
I^ Of the Oil of Nutmeg, ^ss. 

Of the Oil of Cloves, 5j. 
Of the said prepared Gold, 9j. 
Dose, from 9ss. to 9j. 

VQt n, Q 

226 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Process for Water of Sal Gemm^. 
I}i Of Sal GemrtiEe, 

Of Rain Water, Ib.j. 
Distil by retort till the whole substance of the salt is perfected. 

Purgation of Gold. 
^ Of Gold, §ss. 

Of Antimon)'-, 3ij- or giij. 
Melt into a regulus. By this means the antimony takes up the impure part, 
and the gold remains at the bottom. 


The virtues of Silver obtain in complaints of the cerebrum, the spleen, the 
liver, and in the retention of the profluvium. 

Preparation in Complaints of the Cerebrum, Spleen, and Liver, 
'^ Of Laminated Silver, 5iij. 

Of Sal Gemmse, 5vi. 
Arrange in layers. Reduce to the fourth grade of reverberation for twenty- 
four hours, and extract the alkali. The said alkali is placed for three or four 
days in sublimated wine, when the silver becomes like the wine itself. Let 
stand. Evaporate The alkali sinks to the bottom, and, being received into a 
glass, liquefies in a cold place. The dose is from five or six to twelve grains. 

Preparation in Profluvium. 
IJi Of filings of Silver, 3j. 

Reduce into calx by means of Aqua Regis. 

I?> Of the said Calx, 5ij. 

Of crude Tartar, 5iiij. 
Reduce to the fourth grade of reverberation with extraction of the alkali. 
Process for Aqua Regis. 
I?! Of Alumen, "j 

Of Vitriol, ( 

Of Nitre, ) 
Distil into sweet water. 

Method of the Extraction of Alkali. 
i5< Of the said Silver, as required. 

Of Alcool of Wine, 1 

Of Water of Chelidony, j ^^'^^ '^'^• 
Reduce as above. The dose is from 3j. to If the red flows forth with 
the profluvium it is a sign that it is going to be restrained. 5j. of the said 
water should then be taken. 

Preparation of Silver for all the above Complaints. 
I^ Of Laminated Silver, §j. 

Of Purged Sulphur, giiij. 
Of Pine Resin, ^ij. 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 227 

Make a bolus, set alight, and reduce to preparation with spring water. The 
dose is from 9j. to When thus prepared it is good in all the cases, 
but the first is more efficacious. . ; 


The virtues of Tin obtain in jaundice, asclitis, and worms. 

Preparation for Jaundice. 

"Bf. Of Calcined Tin, Ib.j. 

Of Salt, 3v. 

Of Bean Ashes, 

Reduce into Litharge by a fire of reverberation. 

I^ Of the said Litharge, gx. 

Of Alcool of Wine, 

After resolution reduce into Alkali. The dose is from six to ten or twelve 


Preparation for Asclitis. 

I^ Of purged Tin, Jj. 

Of Antimony, §ij. 

Of Filings of Cinetus, to the weight of all. 

Reduce into calx by reverberation for twenty-four hours. Then 

I^ Of the said Calcined Matter, Ib.j. 

Of Alcool of Wine, 

Reduce into alkali. The dose is from 5j to 5J'Ss. 

Preparation for Worms. 
li Of Tin, giij. 

Of Common Salt, giiij. 
Of Asphalt, 5j. 
Make into a powder by burning. The dose is from 5ss. to 5iij. 

Addition in Jaundice. 
Vf Of the said prepared Tin, 3iiij. 

Of Alipta Muscata, 3j. 
Of Bdellium, 3ij. 
The dose is from 3j. 

Addition in Asclitis. 
I^ Of the said prepared Tin, 5ss. 

Of Dragon's Blood, 3ij. 
Of Liquor of Tapsus, jj. 
Mix. The dose is Jss. 

Addition for Worms. 
I^ Of the said prepared Tin, 5j. 

Of Colocinth seed, 

/->r r>i 4. • A • each 3vi. 

Of Plantain seed. 

Make into a powder. The dose is from Jj. to 


2 28 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

The virtues of Copper obtain in ulcers, wounds, worms, and ulcers of 

ths mouth. 

Preparation for Ulcers. 

15. Of Copper, Ib.j. 

Of Immature Botrum, Ib.v. 
Of Vinegar, Ib.j. 
Of Sal Ammoniac, ^ss. 
Digest for a month in a closed vessel, afterwards reduce by ablution, and con- 
vert into a salt of alkali, i.e., verdigris in ulcers (sic). 
Preparation for Wounds. 
I$i Of Copper, 

Of Distilled Turpentine, Ib.j. 
Of Common Salt, 5j. 
Of Vitriol, 5ij. 
Mix in a closed glass vessel for three months. If plates of Copper are taken 
and thus prepared, the best Balsam results. Afterwards take 5j. of Flos 
.(Eris, and 5j. of common oil. 

Preparation for Worms. 
I^ Of Calcined Venus, 5j- 

Of Water of St. John's Wort, and of Centaury, each Svj. 
Of Plantain Water, \ 

Of Sour Wine, ) each ^iiij. 

Digest for seven or eight days. Reduce into Alkali. The dose is from 3j. 

to 3 iiij. or v. 

Preparations for Ulcers of the Mouth. 

B Of Venus, laminated or cemented, ^'j- 

Of Burnt White and Rock Alum, each 3vj. 

Of Distilled Vinegar, Ib.j. 

Extract the Alkali for a day and night. 

Addition for Ulcers, 

R Of the said Flos ^ris, 5j. 

Of Aggripine Ointment, %. 

Of Earth Worms, 3iij. 
Make an unguent. 

Another Addition in Common Ulcers. 

R Of the said Flos ^ris, 5v. 

Of Alum Water, ^xv. 

Make a mixture after the manner of a lotion. 

Addition for Wounds. 
% Of the said prepared Flos j^ris, ,^j. 

Of Oil of Anise, 5iij. 

Of Oil of the Yolks of Eggs, 5 (imperfect quantity). 
Compose an oil, 

Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 229 

R Of the said prepared Flos ^ris, 5ss. 

Of the Hepatic Aloe, Sj- 
Of Liquor Consolida, giiij. 

Make a Gum. 

Addition for Worms. 
B Of the said Flos ^ris, 5j. 

Of Zuccarum Taberzet, ) 

r>f T • • T • ( ^^ch 

Of Liquorice Juice, ) 

Reduce to a powder. The dose is from 9ss. to 3j. 

Addition for Ulcers of the Mouth. 
'Sf Of the said Prepared Flos, jj. 

Of Chelidony Water, 5"j- 
Of Alum Water, Jj. 
Make a gargle or mouth wash. 


Iron has styptic, constrictive, and drying qualities. 

Preparation for Styptic Quality. 
I?! Of Iron Filings, Ib.j. 

Of Common Salt, lb. v. 

Of Spring Water, sufficient for ii^corporation. 
Reduce for the space of a month, and afterwards reverberate into a powder. 
Incorporation is treatment with water till a pulp is formed. 

Constrictive Preparation. 

I}p Of Iron Filings, 

Of Alum Water, 

Of Distilled Vinegar, 

Digest for a month. Reduce by ablution and afterwards by reverberation to 

a crocus. 

Drying Preparation. 

% Of Iron Filings, Ib.ij. 

Of Water of Vitriol, 

Digest for a month and reverberate into a powder. 

Styptic virtue is closing and drying to fistulas and cancers. Constrictive 

obtains in lienteria, dysentery, and diarrhoea. Exsiccative is for phlegmatic 


Addition for a Styptic. 

IJi Of the said Crocus, %). 

Of Burnt Bolus, ^iij. 

Of Sealed Earth, §v. 
Reduce to a powder. It is an incarnative for ulcers and wounds. If taken 
internally the dose is Jj. 

230 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Addition for a Constrictive. 
I5i Of the said Crocus of Mars, 5j. 

Of Myrrh, 5ss. 
Of Oriental Crocus, 3j. 
Reduce to powder. The dose is from 3 ij. or iij. to iiij. 
Addition for an Exsiccative. 
iji Of the said Crocus, 5'ij- 

Of Pomegranates, 5j. 

Of the Sap of Acacias, to the weight of all. 
Make an electuary. 

Saturn has an incarnative virtue. 

I^ Of Lead Ashes. 

Decoct with vinegar for three or four hours. This is the first preparation ; 
it cures wounds, and grows solid flesh. Ceruse is also made from lead 
if washed with water in the sun. Minium is decocted from cerussa in a 
kettle. All medicaments for wounds and ulcers should be prepared from 

Mercury has an incarnative and laxative virtue. 

Preparation as an Incarnative. 

R Of Prepared Mercury, powdered, §ij. 

Of Aqua Regalis, gx. 
Reduce by distillation in a bath several times a day, and convert into 
an oil. It is a most speedy incarnative for wounds and ulcers. It has two 
objections : it salivates and produces cerussa. Hence it is generally rejected 
and disliked. Otherwise it consolidates well and quickly. 
Preparation as a Laxative. 
R Of Mercury coagulated by the Albumen of Eggs, §j. 

Of Alum Water, gvi. 
Distil through ashes and make into a powder. The dose is from three to four 
or five grains. It is a potent purgative for diseases which originate from 
leprous humidity, such as paralysis, pustules, the varieties of gutta, and 
humid dropsy. 

Here ends the Book concerning Preparations in Alchemical Medicine. 


By which the Four Diseases are cured, namely, Epilepsy, Dropsy, 
Small Pox,* and Gout. 

To abolish those errors which are usually committed by Philosophers, 

Artists, and Physicians. 

THE spirit is extracted out of vitriol by means of colcothar, which is 
useless and of no efficacy. That which they call a phlegm is the most 
noble of all spirits, and all virtues should be ascribed to it. 

But although the oil of colcothar is indeed of great efficacy in gravel and 
stone, as also in alopecia, yet it is of no use for the aforesaid diseases, to 
which, however, it is commonly applied. 

Hippocrates, with whom almost all others agree, hands down certain stages 
and symptoms, which supervening epilepsy and gout must be reckoned as 
incurable. But since they had no acquaintance whatever with the spirit of 
vitriol, let their opinions go to the winds. 

In the first place, the extraction of the spirit from vitriol must be effected 
by means of a powerful fire in an upright cucurbit, so that it may be driven 
into a fresh alembic, and, remaining in the athanor four days and nights, may 
be most skilfully passed through the reverberatory. And thus have you 
prepared this spirit of vitriol. 

Afterwards colcothar must be distilled through a phial placed in the 
athanor for the space of three days over a very fierce fire of wood and coal, 
until there shall appear in the receiver, out of ilb. of colcothar, 3vj., which 
is tinctured with a scarlet colour. 

This having been accomplished, the alkali is to be extracted from the 
caput mortnum, and the same having been resolved four or five times, is to be 
then coagulated. Thus the three things which exist in vitriol shall be 
extracted and separated. 


Proceed as follows in an epileptic disease. After each paroxysm let Dj. 
be given to the sufferer. Let a dose of four grains of the oil of colcothar be 

* The term fiitstn^n also signifies St. Anthony's Fire. 

232 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

administered morning and evening in peony water. This order is to be 
followed up to the fifteenth paroxysm. If the paroxysms become less frequent, 
half the dose is to be taken for the next thirty days. 

In gout a daily dose must be taken for a period of thirty days. After- 
wards the afflicted part must be anointed with the spirit of vitriol till the pain 
is removed. If it be gout of long standing, add a fourth part of the liquor of 
mumia* to the said spjrit. 

In dropsy half a scruple of the spirit of vitriol must be administered in 
liquor of Serapinus, the dose being repeated three or four times, according to 
the stage of the disease. In the absence of the liquor of Serapinus, the liquor 
of crude tar must be substituted. 

In the case of small pox observe this order and method. The whole seat 
of the disease and the part of the skin affected is to be anointed with the 
spirit of vitriol for nine days. But if the skin be ulcerated, let the oil of 
colcothar be applied in combination vi'ith its alkali, according to chirurgic 
method. The bandages are to be loosened after the sixth day. 

The regimen and diet must be adapted to the condition of the patient, for 
the whole circle of disease lies in medicine and not in diet. The medicine, 
therefore, must be administered sedulously. So are the four diseases here dealt 
with fundamentally and radically cured. 

An Addendum on Vitriol. 

Alchemy has produced many excellent arts for physicians, whereby 
admirable cures of various diseases are effected. For this reason, therefore, 
in the commencement of medicine, alchemical doctors did always labour 
that it might become the mother and parent of many advantages. These two 
faculties were long cultivated together as companions, until there arose the 
triflers and sophistic humourists, who mingled poison with medicine, and 
rendered it meretricious, which medicine will still continue to remain so long 
as the humourists survive. I preface this that you may pay more diligent 
attention to the point, by reason of its great medical utility. But this is to 
be passed pver. Wherever unskilful men rush into any art there they corrupt 
and defile everything, and out of a pearl make a fetid marsh. A like thing 
happens with regard to vitriol. At first the spirit of vitriol is taken, and is 

*A Process for Mumia, opposed to the Errors of those who administer it for Poisons. — Many 
have laboured in experiments,, compositions^ and recipes, whereby they might draw forth the poison into the universe, 
yet have they accomplished nothing. For among all things, both in experiments and recipes, it is only Mumia which 
brings an immediate remedy against all kinds of poisons. The metijod of dealing with Mumia is as follows. In the 
first place, cause the Mumia to putrefy in olive oil, and that for four weeks. Then separate in a retort. To each 
pound which has proceeded from the separation add one drachm of Alexandrine musk, and of Alexandrine theriac six 
ounces. Lastly, dissolve the mixture in the Bath of Mary for a whole month. You will then have theriac of Mumia. 
As regards its administration to the sick, give at first one ounce in oil of almonds, by way of a drink. Next see that 
the poisoned individual takes to a bed wherein he can sweat well, and the medicine may take effect. By this method 
any animal or mineral poison is expelled. Moreover, such is the virtue of Mumia, that if it have been administered 
before the reception of the poison, the latter will work no harm. A single dose ( ^ ) taken in the morning will obviate the 
possibility of poisoning during the whole day. In cases of poisoned ulcers, plague, carbuncle, anthrax, and pleurisy, 
give Xj", and repeat the dose at the end of six hours, when, if the sufferer has survived to take the second 
quantity, his recovery is assured. Lastly, there are innumerable other diseases which by this theriac are completely and 
perfectly cured. — De Mumia Libeltits. 

The Alchemical Preparation of Vitriol. 233 

usually raised to the highest grade. By this exalted they cure epilepsy, 
whether it be of recent or long standing, in men and women of whatsoever 
condition. But here the unskilled workmen rushing in, and about to enter 
on a better way, have attempted to apply the virtues of vitriol to another 
purpose, and thus departing from the first method and arcanum, they have 
suffered it to expire, and then have sought oil in colcothar, which can in no 
wise be usefully done. For whatsoever is to take away epilepsy must have a 
subtle, sharp, and penetrating spirit. 

For therein consists the faculty of pervading the whole body, and passing 
over nothing. By such prevading or penetration the disease is attacked on its 
own ground, for it is certain and beyond all doubt that its seat, centre, or 
sphere cannot be known ; hence it is inferred by the physician that there is 
need of those remedies which penetrate the whole body. And this is the- 
reason why the mercenary humourists cure none, but prostitute all their 
learning and profession. I therefore freely affirm that in that oil which these 
workmen have sought there is no penetrating spirit whatever. They supply, 
so to speak, a mere earthiness which does not penetrate far, but Where it falls 
there it remains. It is therefore to be regretted that, owing to their 
ignorance, the true process is prejudiced, and a false one is substituted. For 
I am persuaded that the devil has devised these things in order that health 
may not be restored to the sick, and that the sect of the humourists may 
shortly come into still greater power. To return, however, to the beginning, 
and to the manner in which the spirit of vitriol was invented. They first 
distilled the humid spirit of vitriol by itself from colcothar, then they inten- 
sified its grade by distilling it and circulating it to the highest point, as the 
process teaches. In this manner, the water comes to be used for various 
external and internal diseases, as also for the falling sickness. Thus a 
marvellous cure is obtained. But in the extraction they were much more 
diligent, for they took the spirit of vitriol, corrected as above, and distilled it 
from colcothar eight or ten times over a very strong fire. Thus the dry 
spirits were completely mingled with the humid. They continued their work 
until the dry spirits departed, by reason of the uninterrupted and vehement 
extraction. Afterwards they graded each spirit, both the humid and the 
dry, received in a phial together, to their terminus. They regarded this 
medicine as of great efficacy against diseases, and were so successful 
therewith that they completely confounded the humourists. But there is 
added unto it a certain correction by the artists by means of sublimated 
wine, and therefore of greater penetrating power, but it has not attained a 
higher grade. 

But I will communicate to you my process, which I recommend to all 
physicians, especially for epilepsy, which has its cure in vitriol alone. Where- 
fore charity towards our neighbour demands that we should take greater care 
in case of this disease. My process is that the spirit of wine be imbibed by 
vitriol, and afterwards distilled, as I have said, from dry and humid spirits. 

234 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

This done, I discovered that the following addition was very useful. Let the 
spirit of corrected tartar be mingled with the third part of vitriol, and let there 
be added the spirit of the theriacal water of lavender in the proportion of one- 
fifth in respect of the vitriolated spirits. Then let it be administered to the 
sick person before the paroxysm, or several times in the day. This medicine 
possesses a signal efficacy against the said disease, so that it is not lawful to 
expect a better one from Nature. Accordingly, the first process was invented 
and retained by the ancients with the said correction. For thus the heart and 
the whole virtue of Nature is attained. 

But I hope that I shall not be reproved by all good persons who think of 
the terrible nature of this disease, which ought to move the stones to pity, for 
whether the vehemence and atrocity of that disease be so great or not, it 
would be permissible for any one to say, Cursed be all the physicians who, 
passing by the sick, give them no aid, like the priests and Levites in Jericho, 
who, deserting the wounded man, left him to be treated by the Samaritan ! 
For they were worthy of the fire of Gehenna, from which there is no 
redemption, and who will admit anything else than that all these physicians, 
without exception, look at the disease, and yet pass by the sufferer ? Who 
can say anything else but that they will be judged at the last day ? For 
scarcely would they spend one penny to secure a more certain foundation for 
the cure of this disease. Did they strive to imitate the Samaritan, God would 
not then judge them, but, in consideration of their faithfulness, would manifest 
to them all the secrets of Nature, whereby they might assist the sick, and, 
although the required properties did not exist in Nature, He would create them 
afresh. Wherefore I testify to you, men both of high and low degree, that all 
the doctors have shamefully strayed ; whatsoever the seducers Galen or 
Avicenna have concocted, they adhere to it, and weary themselves with lies. 
To such an extent are they obsessed by the devil that they cannot exercise 
charity towards their neighbours, and therefore make of themselves children of 
condemnation. First of all the Kingdom of God is to be sought, yet not with 
the Levite or the priest, but with the Samaritan. 

If we are merciful, and follow the example of the Samaritan, God is 
with us, and He will immediately confer upon Nature a remedy not hitherto 
created. While men have levitical or sacerdotal dealings with the sick, God 
puts off the medicine, and keeps it to Himself. The sick flee to the Kingdom 
of God, but the physicians to the abyss of hell. The same place is prepared 
for both doctors and Levites. Therefore, open your eyes, there are two paths 
— one taken by the Levites, the other, which leads to heaven, along which the 
Samaritan proceeds. 

That vitriolated extraction is not only excellent for falling sickness, but in 
the same way for cognate diseases, as swoon and trance, also for constipation 
and internal imposthumes, etc., and for strangulation and precipitation of the 
matrix. But far other than the aforesaid virtues would be discovered by 
diligent inquiries. The devil, whom the false physicians serve, however, 

The Alchemical Preparation of Vitriol. 235 

obsesses them, and he incites them, so that they cannot endure a lover of the 
truth. So there is an end to the health of the good. 

Further, it is to be known that the aforesaid recipes for making a humid 
spirit of vitriol cannot be more clearly described. An artist is required to 
understand it, but sordid cooks can by no means grasp a matter of so much 
moment. It is from artists, therefore, from alchemists, and from experi- 
mentalists, that you are to expect sufficient information on all points. 
Similarly, we shall, by the same, be more fully instructed in the correction of 
the spirits of the wine. The doctors of the academies are so ignorant that 
they can scarcely distinguish between agaric and manna. The art and virtue 
of all vitriol consists in this, that the spirit of the vitriol should be properly 
extracted, raised to the highest grade, and by addition should be made potent 
to enter the penetralia where the centre, root, and seed of the disease can be 
found. For it is impossible to discover these places so exactly as those 
doctors assume when discoursing of their humours. The fundamental 
principle has not yet been discovered as to what makes the disease, or where it 
is situated, or what it is that throws a man into such a severe paroxysm. 
Therefore the whole operation must be committed to the arcanum alone which 
Nature has appointed for the disease. That arcanum will find out the disease 
just as the sun penetrates all the corners of this world. In short, whoever 
desires to act as a true physician should first of all study to be a Samaritan, 
not a priest or Levite. If he be a Samaritan all things of which there is need 
will be given him, nor will anything be concealed from him. 

Of the Oil of Red Vitriol. 

You must know how a most blood- red and vinegar-like oil is prepared from 
colcothar by distillation in a retort after the alchemistical fashion. This oil the 
operators have regarded as more efficacious in the aforesaid diseases than the 
spirit itself, but erroneously. The process of preparation is well known, and 
need not be here described. The most important part consists in the manual 
work, in diligent inspection, and, finally, in suitable instruments. Also you 
should know concerning its virtues, that, in the first place, it is an acid 
matter, surpassing all acidity, so that there is nothing more acid. Next, it 
possesses a corrosive nature, whence it follows that it must be used with 
caution, as also not by itself, but diluted in such a manner as will be in 
harmony with the nature of the case. By reason of its acidity it is beneficial 
to a stomach which is free from cholera and ulcers, but not otherwise, for 
acidity is aggravating to ulcers. If cholera be present, a continual conflict 
ensues, even as between aquafortis and tartar. It will also conduce to health 
in the case of all fevers and loss of appetite, the same method being observed, 
for many virtues are ascribed to this oil, though few are confirmed by 
experience. Those, indeed, who have boasted of eff"ecting marvellous cures 
thereby, have been proved by use to have lied disgracefully. It is useful in 
stone and gravel, though I know no case which has been cured by it. 

23'6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

In all instances it effects something', but it does not get to the root of any 

But with regard to surgery, understand concerning this oil that it creates 
severe pains, but, nevertheless, brings immediate health even in the most 
desperate diseases. In certain complaints it is better to distil the red oil of 
vitriol into a spirit, and thus a minimum quantity becomes sufficient to effect 
a cure. These things have been taught me by experience ; the other 
decoctions of vitriol are of no importance. 

The White and Green Oil of Vitriol. 

Out of raw vitriol there can be distilled, by descent, an oil, sometimes 
white and sometimes green, according to the conditions of the vitriol. The 
same calls for special praise. Because it is prepared out of crude vitriol, it 
therefore also contains the spirit of the same. It is excellent and advisable 
for internal diseases. The green oil is better if it be circulated and mingled 
with a commixture drawn from the spirit of vitriol. Let no one who 
possesses this despair that he has a certain and undoubted remedy for the 
falling sickness, and all its varieties. It should be brought to the highest 
grade, that it may be separated from its earthiness and its faeces by the bath 
of Mary, and afterwards by fire. Thus, in the bath of Mary the phlegm will 
be removed, the earthiness will be removed by fire, and the spirit of oil must 
be then collected alone that it may circulate by itself. Afterwards you may 
take an addition of the spirit of wine, nor is there need that many things be 
added. It is taken in peony water before the commencement of the 
paroxysm. When the spirit of the oil has searched out the centre of the 
disease, the paroxysm abates, creating a certain vertigo at first, but soon after 
the patient subsides into gentle sleep, and experiences relief. Yet it is 
necessary all the same to persevere with the administration of the medicine. 

Being the Spagyric Doctrine Concerning the Entity of Poison. 


CONCERNING the nature and the essence of poison by which our bodies 
are affected, we would thus establish the foundation and the truth. 
It is agreed among all parties that our bodies stand in need of con- 
servation, that is, a certain vehicle, by the aid of which they flourish and are 
nourished. Wheresoever this is wanting, there life itself departs. But this, 
however, is equally to be borne in mind, namely, that He who built up or created 
our bodies, the same, in like manner, procreated the foods thereof, and that 
with the same facility, though not indeed in an equal perfection. I wish the 
matter to be understood thus : We are endowed with a body which is devoid 
of poison. But that which we administer by way of nourishment to our body 
has poison combined therewith. Thus our body is created perfect, but 
not also the other. Hence, observe that the other animals and fruits are for 
us designed as food, and so, also, as poison. They are not in themselves 
either foods or poisons, but, as regards themselves, and inasmuch as they are 
creatures, they share their perfection equally with us. When they are taken 
by us as food they are thus poison to us. Thus a thing becomes poison to us 
which in itself is by no means a poison. 


To consider the matter further, everything in itself is perfect, is made 
good in relation to itself, and according to its own law. But if we have regard 
to its external uses, it has been formed both good and bad. Understand this 
as follows : The ox which feeds on grass receives both health and poison, for 
the grass contains in itself both nourishment and medicament. In the grain 
itself there is no poison. Thus, also, whatever man eats or drinks is at the 

• Perhaps the chief utility of this treatise will be the illustration which it affords of the extremely wide sense io 
which the terms Alchemist and Alchemy were applied by Paracelsus. The little work itself is derived from that portion 
of the Paramirum which is entitled Textus ParentJiesis super Entia Quingue, and, in addition to the entity of 
poison, is concerned with the astral entity, the entity of seed, the entity of virtue and quality, the natural entity, and 
the spiritual entity. Finally, there is the entity of God. The whole constitutes a kind of general introduction to the 
body of exoteric medicine for which we are indebted to Paracelsus. It is to the several treatises dealing with these 
subjects that reference is intended in the fifth chapter. 

238 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

same time both venomous and healthy. Take this statement in two ways, one 
concerning man himself, excluding the nature of animals and plants, the other 
concerning the assumption. To impress this more plainly on the mind— the 
one in man is the great nature, the other is the poison inserted into the 
nature ; and, in order that we may conclude this matter, remember that God 
has formed all things perfect, in so far as regards their utility to themselves, 
but imperfect to others. Herein rests the foundation of the. entity of poison. 

God, indeed, has appointed for man or for creatures no Alchemist for His 
own sake, but He has destined the Alchemist as one to whom we may betake 
ourselves if any of those things whereof we have need be imperfect. And He 
has done so for this purpose, that we may eat the poison which we take under 
the appearance and in place of healthful food, not as poison, but that we may 
separate and divide it from such healthful food. 

What we tell you about this Alchemist do you regard with the most care- 
ful attention, 


When therefore, anything, which is, in other respects, perfect, assumes at 
one time the form of poison and at another that of healthful sustenance, we 
say, proceeding with our subject, that God has appointed an Alchemist for him 
who eats and uses anything which, when taken, tends as much to destruction 
as to health ; and this Alchemist is such an artist that he can only separate these 
two elements one from the other by banishing the poison to its own place, and 
by introducing the food into the body. In this way, as we have said above, 
we would have our fundam.ental principle understood and accepted by you. 
Take an illustration of a different kind. Whoever is a lord or prince is, so far 
as he himself goes, perfect, as a prince should be. But a prince cannot be 
without servants who shall minister to him in his princely character. Those 
servants too, are, so far as concerns themselves, perfect, but not as they stand 
related to the prince. To him they are as a poison, as a loss ; they receive pay 
from him. So understand the natural Alchemist. God has granted that science 
shall exist bountifully in him, as in a prince. He teaches him how to separate 
the poison from his ministrants and to accept the good among them. Here you 
will find the fundamental principle of our present subject, even though the illus- 
tration may not recommend itself to you at first. Its teaching is according to 
the doctrine of the wise man, where the whole is unfolded. The matter stands 
thus. Man must eat and drink. For the body of man, which is the tem- 
porary abode of his life, absolutely requires food and drink. Man, therefore, 
is compelled to take into him poison, diseases, and death itself, by means of 
his food and drink. So then, this argument might be used against Him who 
endowed us with a body and then added food in order to slay us. Learn, how- 
ever, that the Creator takes nothing away from the creature, but leaves to 
each his own perfection. And, although one thing is poison to one and 
another thing to another, the Creator is not to be accused or blamed for this. 

The Alchemist of Nature. 239 

But in this way you will track out the Creator. If all things are perfect 
in themselves, and this from the settled arrangement of the Creator, according 
to which one serves for the conservation of the other, as when the grass 
nourishes the cattle and the cattle nourish man ; and if thus the perfection of 
one thing be to another which partakes of it now an evil, now a benefit, and 
thus imperfect ; then we must assume that the Creator, for the sake of en- 
larging His creation, arranged matters so for this reason : He determined all 
things should be so created that in whatever is necessary for some other thing 
such virtue and efficacy should be latent, that by means thereof the poison 
should be separated frorti the good for the health of the body and supply of 
nutriment, and that this mutual arrangement should be preserved. For 
example : the peacock devours the snake, the liza,rd, and the newt. These 
creatures, so far as they themselves are concerned, are perfect and wholesome, 
but with reference to other animals, all those mentioned are mere poison, 
except in the case of the peacock. And hear the reason of this difference. Its 
Alchemist is so subtle that the Alchemist of no other animal can come up to 
him. He so thoroughly and purely separates the poison from the good that 
this diet is innoxious for the peacock. So is it true in other respects also that 
to every animal is assigned that particular food which is adapted for its pre- 
servation, and besides this a special Alchemist is given who separates the 
nutriment. To the ostrich such an Alchemist is given who separates the iron, 
that is, the dung, from the nutriment, and it is not possible that this should be 
done for any other creature. To the salamander is given fire for food, or 
rather a body of fire. For this purpose it has an Alchemist appointed. The 
swine feeds on dung, although it is poison ; and for that reason it is extruded 
from the human body by the Alchemist of Nature. Nevertheless, it serves as 
aliment for the swine, since the Alchemist of swine is much more subtle than 
the Alchemist of man ; for the Alchemist of the swine separates that aliment 
from dung which the Alchemist of man cannot so segregate. On this account, 
too, the dung of swine is not eaten by any other animal. There is no other 
Alchemist more subtle, or who can separate aliment more cleverly, than the 
Alchemist of the swine. And so of others, which we advisedly omit, to make 
our discourse the shorter, it must be understood in like manner. 


We have already said something about the Alchemist ; and you must 
believe him to be appointed by God solely for this reason, that he may separate 
from the good that which differs from it in the body when, by the divine 
arrangement, it takes something into itself for the support of life. Recur now to 
the data elsewhere supplied, namely, that there are five things which have power 
over man, and whereto man is subject. These are the Astral Entity, which we 
have dealt with, and next the Entity of Poison. Now even though a man may 
be in no way affected by the stars, still he is not equally safe and secure from 

240 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

the Entity of Poison, but there is reason to fear lest he may go wrong 
thereby. These we leave as we described them in the prefaces.* But in order 
that you may more easily embrace all, observe the initial principle, so that you 
may more clearly understand in what way the poison can or actually does hurt 
you. Since, then, we have within us an Alchemist placed by God the Creator 
in our body for this purpose, that he may separate the poison from the good, 
and that so we may suffer no harm, it is necessary that we should next discuss 
about this, namely, what is the principle and what the mode according to which 
all diseases issue from the Entity of Poison as well as from the other sources. 
In this disquisition we will pass over all that which brings no injury but some 
advantage to bodies, as we shall in due course make clear. 


But first you must know that in this matter astronomers are deceived, for 
while pointing out the maladies of our body, they make the body fortunate and 
the body healthy. But if this be not the case, this one cause remains, that the 
remaining entities, of which there are still four, do injury to the body, and by 
no means the stars of themselves. Hence we rightly ridicule and explode 
their writings, wherein they make such lavish promises of health, and do not 
at the same time consider this, that there exist four other entities, of equal 
power with the stars. But we ought to have a game with them, for what is 
the good of a cat without a mouse, and what is the good of a prince 
without a fool ? Clearly, the physiomantist has also concocted a similar 
history, yet he will never excite our tears. He promises health, nor does he 
think of the four entities of which he is ignorant. For he augurs from the 
sole natural entity, and says nothing about all the rest, which tickles us not 
a little. It is the part of a well-informed man to declare of many things those 
which depend upon a course, for of motions or courses there are five, of 
which man is only one. He who omits some of these motions and 
proceeds with the rest is truly a vain prophet. To divide and to speak 
according to division, each according as he has learnt, according to his 
judgment and opinion, this is extremely praiseworthy. Thus, accordingly, the 
pyromantic Entista delivers his judgment concerning spirits ; similarly,- the 
physiognomical Entista prophesies of the nature of man ; the theological 
Entista of the course of God ; the astronomical Entista of the stars. Each by 
himself is a liar, but they are true and just if they unite in one. We tell you 
this lest you should proceed to prophesy before you have learned the five 
entities of the entities. Then indeed we shall repress our laughter. 

• The Liiellus Prologorum prefixed to the Textus Paramiri observes that there are altogether five modes of 
cure, which is as much as to say that there are five medicines, or five arts, or five faculties, or five physicians. Each of 
these faculties, taken separately, is sufficient for the cure of all diseases. The professors of the first are termed natural 
physicians, for this reason, that they effect cures by the administration of contraries. Those of the second are termed 
specific physicians ; they cure all diseases by means of the e?is specificum. The professors of the third are called 
magical physicians ; they effect the cure of diseases by the use of magical words and characters. The spiritual 
physicians are those who understand the nature of the spirits of roots and herbs, and have them under their control, 
The last are the physicians who heal by faith. 

The Alchemist of Nature. 241 


In order that you may have a fundamental knowledge of the Alchemist, 
know now that God has dispensed to each creature His own substance and all 
things which are necessary for this, not for His own regulation, but for the 
use of those who need those things which are conjoined with poison. That 
creature has within him, in his own body, one who separates the poison from 
whatever is applied to the body. This is in very truth an Alchemist, because 
in his mode of action he makes use of chemical art. He separates the evil 
from the good. He transmutes the good into tincture. He tinges the body 
for the sake of its life. He arranges and disposes all that is subject to Nature 
in it, and tinges it so that it turns into blood and flesh. This Alchemist dwells 
in the bowel, as in his instrument, with which he decocts and where he 
operates. Understand the matter thus. Whatever flesh man eats has in it 
both poison and good. In the act of eating, all things are regarded as 
healthful and good. Under the good, indeed, poison is latent ; but under the 
bad there is nothing good. As soon as ever food, that is to say, flesh, is taken 
into the stomach, the Alchemist, immediately fastening upon it, effects a 
separation. Whatever does not tend to the health of the body he puts aside 
in its special places ; whatever he finds good he also sequestrates into its 
proper abodes. This is the Divine ordinance. In this way the body is 
preserved so that it shall not be killed by the poison of what it eats. Now, 
this separation is made by means of the Alchemist without anything being 
done on the part of man. And thus it is with the virtue and power of 
the Alchemist in man. 


Understand, moreover, after the following manner, how, in every single 
thing which man takes for his use there is a poison hidden under what is 
good. The essence is that which sustains the man. The poison, on the other 
hand, is that which destroys him and brings diseases upon him. And this is 
true of every alimentary substance, without exception, in respect of that 
animal which uses it. Now, physicians, attend to this ! If it be thus with 
the aliment of the body and the body cannot do without it, but is altogether 
dependent upon it, then the body simply takes the aliment, such as it is, under 
the twofold species of good and ill, and delegates to the Alchemist the duty of 
separation. Now, if the Alchemist be weak, so that with all his care he avails 
not to separate the poison from that part which is evil, then, from the poison 
and the good there arises a combined putrefaction and, eventually, a kind of 
digestion, and this it is which inflicts diseases of humanity upon us. For 
every disease in man begotten of the Entity of Poison emanates from a 
putrefied digestion, which ought to take place so gently that the Alchemist 
should perceive in it no measure of excess. But when digestion is interrupted, 
then the Alchemist cannot remain perfect in his instrument. So, then, 
corruption necessarily ensues, and this, in its turn, is the mother of all 
VOL. n. R 

242 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

diseases. This is what physicians ought most carefully to watch, and it 
should not be involved in any of your intricacies. Corruption defiles the body, 
and it is produced in this way. Water which is clear and limpid can at 
pleasure be tinged with any colour. The body is like such water : corruption 
is the colouring matter ; and there is no such colour which does not derive its 
origin from decay. It is at once the signal and proof of poison. 


Learn this with the view of more fully following up the subject, that cor- 
ruption is produced in two ways, locally and emunctorially, according to the 
following method : If, as we have said, there be an Alchemist present in 
digestion, and if in the process of separation, he succumbs to the fault of 
defective digestion, then in place of him there is generated putridity, which is 
poison. Everything putrid is poisonous for that place where it is detained, 
and so becomes the mother of certain and deadly poison. For putridity corrupts 
that which is good, and if the good be stripped of its virtue, then the evil tri- 
umphs over the good, and this good no longer appears otherwise than under the 
false appearance of that good which is really subject to putridity. And so this 
becomes the source of diseases which, in their turn, are subject to it. But know 
that which is produced emunctorially occurs through the failure of the expulsive 
nature, in the following manner: If the Alchemist expels the poison, he does so in 
every case by the proper emunctories ; the white sulphur by the nostrils, arsenic 
by the ears, dung through the anus, and so other poisons according as each has 
its own special emunctory. Now, if one of these poisons he hindered by the 
weakness of Nature, or by itself and in other ways, it then becomes the mother 
of the diseases which are subject to it. So, universally in all diseases two 
sources are patent. We will not say more on this subject. 


Moreover, as has been said above on the subject of natural Alchemy, that 
it is situated in every animal, on account of that separation which must take 
place in the bowel, listen to the following doctrine as to how, in the aforesaid 
manner, all other diseases also can be investigated and searched out : If the man 
be well and strong in respect of all entities — if, for example, he has a suitable 
Alchemist who separates well with appropriate instruments, reservoirs, and 
emunctories, then it is necessary, in addition to the instruments, to regard 
many other matters, especially to see that the stars are favourable, and that all 
the other entities are well disposed. And yet these general entities do not 
greatly affect us ; for assuming that they are all good and effectual, still many 
accidents happen to the body which either break or spoil, befoul or impede, the 
reservoirs or emunctories. Fire is contrary to the Nature and to the body. 
For this in its quality, nature, ardour, dryness, and other force, can so corrupt 
us that by its presence the instruments of the Alchemist are violated, and so 

The Alchemist of Nahcre. 243 

he appears to be of feeble powers afterwards. So, too, water itself is adverse 
in its nature to our body and its reservoirs, so much so that the instruments 
are either stopped up or perverted by it, or in some other respect altered. 
The same is the case with the air and with other necessary things, and also 
with external accidents, which are of universal power, so that they break 
asunder, change, and render useless the instruments and emunctories. Then, 
too, the Alchemist, being weak and dead, proves unequal to the accomplish- 
ment of his work. 


But it should not escape your notice that the reservoirs, instruments, and 
emunctories can be corrupted through the mouth by the air, food, drink, and 
other things of this kind, in the following way : The air which we breathe is 
not without its poison, and to this we are specially subject. Concerning the 
quantity of food and drink, and its bad quality, which disagrees with the 
organism of the body, the truth is that by these means the organs are thrown 
out of order to an excessive degree, and that, in this way, the Alchemist is 
clearly disturbed in his operations. Hence ensue digestion, putrefaction, and 
corruption. And whatever be the properties of the poison which man takes, 
such a nature the bowel assumes, and, together with the bowel, all the rest of 
the body. Thereupon this becomes the mother of diseases in that self-same 
body. Hence, you physicians ought to understand that one poison and not 
more produces the mother of diseases. Thus, if you eat flesh, herbs, pulse, 
spices, and from the consumption of these poison is generated in the belly, 
then it is not all these foods which are the cause, but only one of them, as, for 
instance, the poison of the herb, or of the pulse, or of the spices. This you 
should consider a great secret. For if you know this thoroughly, what poison 
is the mother of diseases, then we will allow you with justice to be called 
physicians. In this way you will have discovered what remedy you ought to 
use ; otherwise, you will attempt this in vain. This becomes for you" the 
foundation of the mother of all diseases, whereof indefinite numbers are 
reckoned up. 


We will now communicate to you some brief information on the subject of 
poisons that you may understand to what and to what kind of poisons we 
allude. We have pointed out to you that poison exists in all foods. From 
food, therefore, is educed a certain entity which has power over our bodies. 
We afterwards explained the Alchemist who is in our bodies, who for the well- 
being of the body separates the poison from the food by means of his instru- 
ments and reservoirs. When this has been done, the essence passes off into a 
tincture of the body. The poison goes from the body through the emunctories. 
Whilst each operation proceeds in this way man is sound and healthy by means 
of the entity itself. At the same time, also, we mentioned the hostile accidents 
which might impinge upon the entity itself so as to destroy it. In this way it 


244 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

becomes the mother of diseases. Having repeated so much, now let us speak 
about the different kinds of poisons. I think you now understand what the 
emunctories are, and how many of them there are. Reasoning from these you 
can get at a knowledge of poisons. Whatever exudes substantially through 
the pores of the skin is resolved Mercury. What is excreted through the 
nostrils is white sulphur. Arsenic is ejected through the ears ; sulphur through 
the eyes. Through the bladder there is a resolution of salt ; through the 
anus putrefied sulphur. Possibly your reason may seek to know under what 
form and appearance each of these can be recognised ; but that is a matter 
which our present parenthetical treatise does not include. You will gather 
from our book on the Human Construction of Philosophy the fundamental 
principles which it is necessary for a physician to know. There, too, are 
given at some length the appropriate remedies in many cases, such, for 
example, as in putrefactions, and it will be well for you to read these. In the 
same treatise, too, you will learn in what way poison is latent in food.* 


We will give you an illustration from which you may briefly learn how 
poison lurks under aliment ; and how it is that the condition of a substance 
which is perfect in itself becomes vicious and poisonous in respect of men and 
animals who use it. The ox is created with all appendages sufficient for its 
own use, its skin adapted to the accidents of its flesh, its emunctories ready to 
use for the Alchemist. But this illustration does not seem altogether to 
square with our purpose. We will give another. The ox is created, with a 
view to its own requirements, in that form wherein we find it ; not for man by 
way of nutriment in food. Mark, then ; half of that ox is a poison to man. 
If the ox had been created for man's sake alone, it would not have needed 
horns, bones, or hoofs. There is no nutriment in these ; and what is made 
from them does not come under the category of necessities. You see, 
therefore, that in respect of itself, the ox is created altogether good, nor is 
there in itself anything which it could do without or which it has in 
excess. But now, if that ox is taken for human food then man eats at the 
same time that which is hurtful to himself, which is, in fact, poison, but 
which to that ox had not been poison. This, then, must be separated from 
the nature of man, and the work of separation is undertaken by the Alchemist, 
in cases where several poisons are generated without any provision for 
carrying them off. By the operation of the Alchemist each poison is draughted 
off to its emunctories, and these are filled with such poisons. But every 
Alchemist among men can perform the same office as the Alchemist in the 
body ; no art is lacking to him. This should be an example to every one of 
them that as the Alchemist of Nature works so he himself should endeavour to 

• This treatise cannot be identified from its title among the extant writings of Paracelsus, The matters referred 
to are the subject of frequent instruction throughout the medical books, 

The Alchemist of Nature. 245 

work. And if poisons are so separated that poison no longer appears, think 
how even from a caul is produced the most beautiful golden oil, which, 
nevertheless, is of all oils the most detestable. The mucus of the nostrils, too, 
is not reckoned a poison, but it is, nevertheless, a most accursed poison, from 
which arise all the diseases of distillations, and it can be easily recognised from 
these diseases. 


We seem to have sufficiently explained the entity of poison, namely, that 
it proceeds solely from that which we use as food and drink. Hence, further 
note that digestion is the same as corruption, if it is corrupted. Next, 
further, know, how every poison is generated in its place ; and how in the 
process of time either diseases or deaths are occasioned from that poison. 


Notwithstanding, in dealing with the entity in question, we shall not 
explain to you the manner in which every disease originates from the above- 
mentioned poisons of food, which poisons are removed to their emunctories. 
However, to avoid mistakes, pass it over in this parenthesis, and seek it in the 
Books of the Origin of Diseases. We shall there clearly explain it to you 
according to this fundamental principle. So ye shall at once understand what 
are the diseases of arsenic, salt, sulphur, and mercury, according to the 
distribution of every form and species, just as it is fitted to itself and to the 
generation of diseases. Thus we desire to conclude these matters with this 
entity. We wish them to be understood as an introduction to all our other 

Here ends the Alchemist of Nature. 


Hermetic Philosophy. 




OF all created things the condition whereof is transitory and frail, there is 
only one single principle. Included herein were latent all created 
things which the aether embraces in its scope. This is as much as to say that 
all created things proceeded from one matter, not each one separately from its 
own peculiar matter. This common matter of all things is the Great Mystery. 
Its comprehension could not be prefigured or shaped by any certain essence or 
idea, neither could it incline to any properties, seeing that it was free at once 
from colour and from elementary nature. Wherever the aether is diffused, 
there also the orb of the Great Mystery lies extended. This Great Mystery is 
the mother of all the elements, and at the same time the spleen of all the stars, 
trees, and carnal creatures. As children come forth from the mother, so from 
the Great Mystery are generated all created things, both those endowed with 
sense and those which are destitute thereof, all things uniformly. So, then, 
the Great Mystery is the only mother of all ephemeral things, from which these 
are born and derived, not in order of succession or continuation, but they 
came forth at one and the same time, in one creation, matter, form, essence, 
nature, and inclination. 

* The whole literature of alchemy, so far, at least, as regards the Western world, appeals to the cosmological 
philosophy contained in the writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus as to its source and fountain-head, and a right 
understanding of its mysteries is regarded by its authors as impossible in the absence of a right understanding of that 
philosophy. At the same time, the cosmology of the Hermetic books has at first sight nothing to do with alchemy. In 
the same way, the cosmological philosophy of Paracelsus does not at first sight seem to have any distinct bearing upon 
the alchemy of Paracelsus, and yet it is a complement of his alchemy, and is indispensable to students thereof. The 
editors of the Geneva folio regarded it in this light, and collected his chemical and philosophical works into a distinct 
volume. It is therefore advisable that readers of the present translation should have an opportunity of judging after 
what manner the physician of Hohenheim was accustomed to philosophise hermetically. The two most compendious 
treatises are here given. The Philosophy to the Athenians, that is, to the followers of Aristotle, deals cosmologically 
with that separation of the elements which is the subject of such frequent reference in other writings of Paracelsus. The 
Interprctatio Alia. Astronomic is concerned with man and the sciences in relation to the greater world. It illustrates 
many matters which have been the subject of reference in the sections devoted to Hermetic Alchemy and Hermetic 
Medicine. Paracelsus is never characterised by extreme lucidity, and if his alchemy, his medicine, and his philosophy 
are not illustrated by each other, seeing that he intimately connected them together, their individual difficulties are 
likely to be increased in proportion. At the same time, it is requisite, for many reasons, that this section should be 
kept within somewhat narrow limits. 

250 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


This mystery was such that none other like it ever appeared to any creature ; 
this was the first matter from which all transitory things sprang ; and it cannot 
be better understood than by considering the urine of man. This is produced 
from water, air, earth, and fire. Of these, no one is like another, and yet all the 
elements proceed from thence to another generation, and so on to a third 
generation. And yet, as the urine is only a creature, there may be some 
difference between this and that. The Great Mystery is uncreated, and was 
prepared by the Great Artificer Himself. No other will ever be produced like 
it ; neither does it return or is it brought back to itself. For as the cheese 
does not again become milk, so neither does the generation hereof return to its 
own primal matter. For though all things may be reduced to their pristine 
nature and condition, still they do not go back to the Mystery. That which 
is consumed cannot be brought back again. But it can return to what it was 
before the Mystery. 


Moreover, although the Great Mystery appertains to all created things, 
sensible and insensible, still, neither growing things, nor animals, nor the like, 
were created therein ; but the truth about it is this, that it left and assigned to 
all, that is, to men and animals, general mysteries ; and to those of each sort it 
gave the mystery of self-propagation according to their own form, to each its 
own essence. And so, by a similar example, it conferred on each of the rest 
alike the special mystery to produce its own shape by itself. From the same 
origin spring also those mysteries out of which another mystery can be pro- 
duced, which, also, the primal mystery arranged. For a star [alias stercus) 
is the mystery of scarabaei, flies, and gnats. Milk is the mystery of cheese, 
butter, and other substances which belong to this class. Cheese is the mystery 
of worms that grow in it. So, again, in turn, worms are the mystery of their 
faeces. In this way, therefore, twofold mysteries exist ; one the Great Mystery, 
which is the mystery uncreated. The rest, as if springing out of it, are called 
special mysteries. 


Since, therefore, it is certain that all perishable things sprang from, and 
were produced by, the Uncreated Mystery, it should be known that no one 
thing was created sooner or later than another, or this or that by itself separ- 
ately, but all were produced at one and the same time, and together. For the 
supreme arcanum, that is, the goodness of the Creator, created or brought 
together all things into the uncreated, not, indeed, formally, not essentially, 
not qualitatively ; but each one was latent in the uncreated, as an image or a 
statue in a block of wood. For as this statue is not seen until the rest of the 
superfluous wood is cut away, but when this is done, the statue is recognised, 
so with the Uncreated Mystery ; all that is fleshly, whether sensible or in- 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 251 

sensible, arrived straightway at its form and species by a deliberately planned 
process of separation. Here no section was lost or passed away, but all found 
theif way to their own form and essence and to their own likes. Nowhere, 
in any age, could sculptor be found so careful and industrious in the work of 
separation who by like art could utilise the smallest and most shortlived thing, 
and shape it into a living being. 


In this way it should be understood, not that a house was built out of the 
Great Mystery, or that all animals were brought together, piled up, and then 
perfected, and that the same was done with other growing things ; not so, but 
as a physician makes up some compound, of many virtues, though it be but a 
single matter, in which appear none of those virtues, which lie concealed under 
that particular species. So must we suppose that creatures of all kinds, which 
are comprised in the ether, were brought together into the Great Mystery and 
set in order, not, indeed, perfectly, according to their substance, form, or 
essence, but according to another subtle standard of perfection, which is hidden 
from us mortals, and according to which all things are included in one. For all of 
us are sprung from what is perishable and mortal, and are born just as if by 
the procreation of Saturn, who in his separation puts forth all sorts of forms 
and colours, of which not a single one shews visibly in himself. Since, then, 
the mysteries of Saturn exhibit procreations of this kind, much more surely 
will the Great Mystery have this miracle in itself; in the separation whereof 
all foreign and superfluous matter has been cut away ; yet nothing has been 
found so empty and unserviceable as not to produce some growth or useful 
matter from itself. 


Know, too, that in the cutting or carving of the Great Mystery different 
fragments fell down, and some went to flesh, of which the species and forms 
are infinite in number ; some to monsters of the sea, also marvellous in their 
variety ; others to herbs ; not a few to wood ; more still to stones and metals. 
As to how Almighty God carved these things, there are at least two methods 
of art in answering such inquiries. The first is that He constantly arranged for 
life and increase. The second, that it was not a single and everywhere similar 
matter which fell down. If a statue is carved out of wood, all the chips cut 
from that block are wooden too. Here, however, this was not the case ; but 
a separate form and motion were given to each. 


In this way, distribution ensued upon the working of the Great Mystery, 
and the things separated from the superfluous ones shone forth. At the same 
time, from these same superfluities which were cut off, other and diverse things 
were produced. For the Great Mystery was not elementary,though the elements 

252 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

themselves were latent therein. Nor was it carnal, though all the races of 
men were comprehended in it. Neither was it wood or stone ; but the matter 
was such that, whilst it embraced every mortal thing in its undivided essence, 
it afterwards, in the process of separation, conferred upon each one by itself its 
own special essence and form. Something of the same kind takes place with 
regard to food. When a man eats it, flesh is generated therefrom, though the 
food itself in no wise resembled flesh. If it be allowed to putrefy, then grass 
grows up from it, though there was nothing in the flesh that was like grass. And 
this is much more the case with the Great Mystery. For in the Mysteries it 
is abundantly clear that one has gone off' into stones, another into flesh, another 
into herbs, and so on in diff'erent and infinitely varied forms. 


The separation, then, having been now made, and everything being reduced 
to its peculiar shape and property, so that each shall subsist by itself, then, at 
length,the substantial matter can be distinguished. What was fit for compaction 
has been compacted, the rest (so far as its substance is concerned) remaining 
empty and thin. For when the compaction first took place, the whole could 
not be equally compacted, but the greater part remained void. This is clearly 
shewn in the case of water. If this be coagulated, the mass or quantity of 
that which is compacted is small. The same takes place in the separation of 
the elements. The whole compaction took place— stones, metals, wood, flesh, 
and the like. The rest remained more rare and void, each single thing ac- 
cording to its own nature and the properties of the planets. And so the Great 
Mystery in its compaction was just like smoke which is diffused far and wide. 
But it does not contain in itself much substance, save a little soot. The rest 
of the space which the smoke occupies is pure, clear air, as can be seen in the 
separation of the smoke from the soot. 


The principle, mother, and begetter of all generation was Separation. 
• It is true that men ought not to philosophise about these things beyond the 
grasp of human reason ; but the following is the method of learning about 
such things, how they come to pass. If vinegar be mixed with warm milk, 
there begins a separation of the heterogeneous matters in many ways. The 
truphat of the minerals brings each metal to its own nature. So was it in the 
Mystery. Like macerated tincture of silver, so the Great Mystery, by pene- 
trating, reduced every single thing to its own special essence. With wonder- 
ful skill it divided and separated everything, so that each substance was 
assigned to its due form. In truth, that magic which had such an entrance 
was a special miracle. If it were divinely brought about by Deity, we shall 
in vain strive to compass it in our philosophy. God has not disclosed Himself 
to us by means of this. But if that were natural magic, it certainly was very 
wonderful, marked by intensest penetration, and most rapid separation, the 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 253 

like whereof Nature can never again give or express. For whilst that opera- 
tion went on, part of the things was cleft asunder to the elements, part went 
to other invisible things, part went to produce vegetables, and this is 
deservedly held to be a singular and supreme marvel. 


So when the Great Mystery was filled with such essence and deity, with 
the addition of eternal power, before all creatures were made the work 
of separation began.* When this had commenced, afterwards every creature 
emerged and shone forth with its free will ; in which state all will afterwards 
flourish up to the end of all things, that is, until that great harvest in which 
everything shall be pregnant with its fruits, and those fruits shall be reaped 
and carried into the barn ; for the harvest is the end of its fruit, and signifies 
nothing else than the corporeal destruction of all things. The number of 
those fruits is, indeed, almost infinite ; but the harvest is one wherein all the 
fruits of creation shall be cut down and gathered into the barn. No less 
marvellous will be this harvest, the end of all things, than was stupendous at 
the beginning that Great Mystery. Although the free will of all things is 
the cause of their mutual affection and destruction, nothing exists without 
friendship and enmity ; and free will exists and flourishes only in virtues ; but 
it is friendly or adverse in its effects. These belong in no way to separation. 
This is the great divider, which gives to everything its form and its essence. 


But in the beginning of the Great Mystery of the separation of all things, 
there went forth first the separation of the elements, so that before all else 
those elements broke out into action, and each in its own essence. Fire 
became heaven, and the chest of the firmament. The air was made mere 
emptiness, where nothing appears or is visible, occupying that place where no 
substance or corporeal matter was located. This is the chest or cloister 01 
the invisible Fates. The water went off" into liquidity, and found a seat for 
itself around the channels and cavities of the centre, within the other elements 
and the aether. This is the chest of the nymphs and sea-monsters. The land 
was coagulated into the earth, which is not sustained by the other elements, 
but propped up by the columns of Archialtis, which are the mighty marvels of 
God. The earth is the chest of growing things, which are nourished by the 
earth. Such separation was the beginning of all creatures and the first 
distribution both of these and of others. 

• The Book of the Philosophy of the Celestial Firmament, otherwise the Philosophia Setgax, thus explains the 
rationale of that primal creation by which the heaven, the earth, and all creatures were made : The first hody ; after 
the body the Rector or Moderator ; then the sensible body ; after this the King governing it ; lastly, the King ruling 
men. The first body is that of the upper and lower sphere ; the Rector is the living spirit which informs it, and this 
is the motive power. The Rector of man is the divine reason with which he is endowed, 

254 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


The elements having been thus produced according to their essence, and 
separated from one another, so that each should subsist in its own place, and 
no one encroach upon another, a second separation ensued upon the first, and 
this emanated from the elements themselves. Thus, all that wras latent in the 
fire became transformed into the heavens, one part being, as it were, the ark 
or cloister, while the other developed from it as a flower from its stalk. In 
this way the stars, the planets, and all that the firmament contains, were 
produced. But these were begotten from the element, not as a stalk with its 
flowers grows out of the earth. These, indeed, grow from the earth itself, 
but the stars are produced from the heavens by separation alone, as the 
flowers of silver ascend and separate themselves. Thus all the firmaments 
were separated from the fire. Before the firmament was separated from the 
fire, this fire had existed as the one universal element. For as a tree in winter 
exists only as a tree, but when summer comes on, the same tree, if those 
leaves which have to be separated are removed, still puts forth its flowers and 
fruits (for this is the time of gathering and of separation), so must be under- 
stood as like in all respects that ingathering in the separation of the Great 
Mystery, which could not any longer restrain itself or be delayed. 


To the separation of the elements there succeeded another separation 
from the air, made at the same time with the fire. The whole air was 
predestinated to all the elements. But it is not in the other elements in the 
way and manner of mixture. It lays hold of all kinds of things in all the 
elements, and seizes upon these. Nor does it occupy that which was 
possessed before. No mixture of the elements remained joined or united, 
but each separate element withdrew according to its own pleasure, in no way 
united or conjoined with the rest. Now, after the element had in this way 
withdrawn from the Great Mystery, there were forthwith distributed from it 
fates, impressions, incantations, superstitions, evil deeds, dreams, divinations 
lots, visions, apparitions, fatacesti, melosinise, spirits, diemese, durdales, and 
neufareni. From this separation of the aforesaid, which had now been 
accomplished, there was assigned to each its own prearranged seat, and its 
own peculiar essence was predestinated. Thus it befell that things in them- 
selves invisible became to us objects of our perception. No element was 
created by the supreme arcanum more subtle than the air. The diemeffi dwell 
in hard rocks. They were so created, together with the air, in vacuity. The 
durdales withdrew to the trees. A separation of them was made into a 
substance of this kind. The neufareni dwell in the air of the earth or in 
the pores of the earth. The melosiniae took up their abode in human blood. 
The separation of them was made out of the air into bodies and flesh. The 
spirits were distributed into the air, which is in chaos. All the rest are, and 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 255 

abide in, special places of the air, each occupying its own definite position, 
and being separated^ from the element of air, but still so that it of necessity 
dwells therein, and cannot change that position. 


By the separation of the elements the water was segregated to the place 
predestined for it. In this way, everything that was latent in its elementary 
virtue and property was more fully segregated by another separation, and the 
water was divided into many special mysteries, all of which had been moulded 
from the element of water. A certain part, by means of that separation, was 
cut off to form fishes of manifold forms and kinds ; a certain part went to form 
fleshy animals ; some went to salt, and no small portion to marine plants, as 
corals, trina, and citrones. Many also went to form marine monsters, con- 
trary to the manner and course of all the elements. Not a few went to 
nymphs, syrens, dramas, lorinds, and nesder. Some went to rational crea- 
tures bearing in their bodies something eternal and propagating their kind ; 
some which finally die out altogether, and some which, in course of time, are at 
length separated. For the perfect separation of the elements has not yet been 
fully made. As the great harvest overwhelms usj or draws nigh year by year, 
new growths may emerge in the element of water. And, indeed, that separa- 
tion was made at the same moment as the separation of the elements, in one 
day, and by the motion of sequestration. And, so, by that means everything 
spending its existence in the water, simultaneously and in a single moment, 
was created and revealed by the process of separation. 


In like manner, also, when the element of earth had been separated from 
the rest, a terrestrial separation was made, that is to say, of all things which 
are, or have been, born from the earth. Four elements, in all respects alike, 
were latent in the Great Mystery at the time of the first creation. The same, 
in like manner, were also divided at one and the same time. Moreover, these 
were also, in like manner, divided from one another in the second separation, 
which is called elementary. By such elementary separation there were divided 
out of the element of earth, severally, sensible and insensible things, eternal 
and n&n-eternal, each being allotted its own essence and free will. Whatever 
was of a wooden nature therein was made wood. A second went off into 
metallic minerals, a third into marcasite, talc, bismuth, granate, metallic 
cobalt, pyrites, and many other substances ; a fourth into gems of manifold 
forms and kinds, and to stones, sands, and chalk ; a fifth into fruits, flowers, 
herbs, and seeds ; a sixth into sensible animals, of whom one part are partakers 
of eternity, as men, the others cut off" from it, as cattle and the rest. Very 
many species and differences can be enumerated ; for in the terrestrial element 
far more species have been separated than in any other of the rest. For by 

256 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

means of the semen, and of the congress of two, the father and mother, to wit, 
all thing's were propagated, and this was not arranged and predestinated after 
the same fashion in the other elements. Here are the gnomes and the Sylves- 
ters and the lemures, of which the one are destined for the mountains, others 
for the woods, and the rest only for the night. Moreover, the giants were 
separated to the third generation. Great essences were also distributed, form- 
ing, as it were, stupendous miracles among men, cattle, and growing things. 
This is a matter hard to be understood by any philosophy and so is esteemed 
to be brought about contrary to the serial order and the customary method of 


After that, as has been said, the four elements of things were in the beginning 
severally separated from one single matter, in which, however, their complexion 
and essence were not present — those complexions and natures emerged by that 
process of separation. The warm and the dry withdrew to the heavens and 
the firmament, each falling according to its own property. The warm and 
moist withdrew to the air, whereupon the warm and the moist were invisibly 
separated. The cold and moist was cleft asunder to the sea, and places 
bordering thereupon. The cold and dry degenerated to the earth and all 
terrestrial things. But contrarieties were originated from this separation of 
the elements, which appear in no respect like their elements. Among these is 
reckoned lime, which in respect of its nature is not fire, but originates in fire. 
The cause of this is, that in the course of the separation of the element, its 
dissolution departed too far from the fiery nature. Fire contains in itself both 
coldness and humidity. In fact, fire is fourfold. So, again, the colours which 
proceed from fire are not always alike. One fire makes a white and a lazurium 
colour. A dry fire makes red and green. A humid fire makes ashen and black. 
A cold fire makes saffron and red. For this reason one procreation is warmer 
than another, because the one fire was more or less graduated than the other. 
For fire was not only one simple thing, but some hundred kinds existed of 
which no one had precisely the same grade as another. There was a pro- 
creation of each one, as if it were made a certain pre-ordained mystery according 
to its definite subject. 

Moreover, neither did the water itself obtain the complexion of a simple 
species. An infinite number of waters were latent in that element, yet all were 
veritable waters. It is not matter of discovery for a philosopher that the 
element of water is only cold and moist of itself. It is a hundred times colder, and 
not more moist, and, moreover, this is to be referred not so much to its warmth 
as to its coldness. The element of water does not live or flourish only in cold 
and moisture of one degree ; nay, indeed, it does not even exist of one degree. 
Some waters are springs, and these are manifold. Some are seas, which again 
are very numerous, and very different one from another. Some are streams 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 257 

and rivers, whereof no single one is precisely like any other. Some aqueous 
elements were appointed to stones, as in the case of the beryl, the crystal, the 
chalcedony, the amethyst. Some went to plants, as the coral and amber ; 
soipe to chime, as the liquid of life. Not a few went to the earth, as the 
liquid of the earth. Such are the elements of water, manifold in species. 
Those things, for instance, which grow out of the ground from seed scattered 
there are also referred to the element of water. So, too, those which are fleshy, 
as the nymphs, are referred also to the element of water. For although, in 
this instance, the element of water must be understood to be transmuted into 
another complexion, it never lays aside or oversteps the nature of the element 
itself, from which it proceeds. Whatever is of water, that again becomes water. 
So, too, whatever comes from fire again becomes fire, what comes from earth 
becomes earth, and what from air becomes air. 


By parity of reasoning, too, it is plain that all things which are constituted 
from earth retain the nature of the same. Although mineral liquids are 
taken to be fire, yet they are not really so. Not even sulphur burns so much 
as to make it a fiery element. Indeed, the cold as well as the warm burns. 
That which ip burning produces an ash is not the element of fire, but a fire of 
the earth, and that fire must not be esteemed an element. It is not an 
element, but only a consumption of the earth, or of its substance. Water 
itself can be quite as easily made to burn and to cause a conflagration. If 
this be so, then this is aqueous fire. Besides, the mere fact that the fire of 
earth burns and flames does not justify our considering it to be igneous, 
though it be true that it is in some respects like fire. That philosopher is at 
once simple and sensuous who names an element from what he perceives. 
The element is something widely diff"erent from such a fire as this. Why do 
we say so? Everything that moistens is not the element of water. The 
element of earth can be reduced to water, yet it still always remains earth. 
In the same way, whatever is in earth belongs to the element of earth. For 
it exists and is known by the properties of that from which it proceeded, or to 
which it appears like. The hard flint and the chalcedony alike emit fire from 
themselves. That fire, however, is not an elemental fire, but a strong 
expression in great hardness. 


The element of air contains within itself a large number of procreations, 
which, nevertheless, are all merely air. Every philosopher should know that 
an element does not procreate anything else save of the same kind as it is per 
se. Like is constantly produced from like. So, therefore, since the air is 
invisible, it cannot beget any visible thing of itself. In the same way, since 
it is impalpable, it produces nothing which is Thus it melosiniates 

258 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

— if I may so say. If the melosinia be from the air it is air, nothing else. 
Still, a conjunction takes place with some other element, which, in this case, 
is the earth. For here a conjunction can be made from the air to form a 
human being, just as in all evil deeds and incantations it happens by means of 
spirits. The truth is the same as with regard to nymphs, who, though they 
are ranked under the element of water and are nothing else, can still freely 
have commerce with terrestrials and generate with them. A similar com- 
paction is made from the air. It is visible and tangible, not, however, as a 
procreation of the primal separation, but only a sequel of the same. As the 
scarabaeus is produced from dung, so a monster can assume bodily shape 
from the aerial element with aerial speech, thoughts, and action through 
commixture with the terrestrial. But miracles and consequences of this kind 
return again to air, just as nymphs return to water, and as man by decay 
is reduced to earth and consumed because he was born from the earth. 


In this way, then, by means of the great separation, procreations are pro- 
duced, the one following from the other. But from these procreations other 
generations have emerged, which have their own mystery in these procreations, 
not, indeed, as a separation in the exact form of those before mentioned, but 
as an error, or an abortion, or an excrescence. Thunder arises from the 
procreations of the firmament, and this itself exists from the element of fire. 
Thunder is, as it were, the harvest of a star, at that precise point of time in 
which the thunder has grown mature for acting according to its nature. 
Magical storms arise from the air and end in the air again, not because the 
element of air produces them, but rather the spirit of the air. Some are con- 
ceived corporeally from fire, as gnomes are from the earth. Just in the same 
way, dung is produced by men and cattle, not from the earth. The lorind 
emerges from the naturals of the water, and is not from the water itself. From 
that abundance, or that error, or that harvest, many other things, too, are 
begotten. By impressions are born deformed men, women, and other genera- 
tions like these. From fatal storms arise infections of particular districts, 
pestilences, and dearness of the market (famine, etc.). From dung are born 
scarabsei, erucse, and dalni. From the lorind is collected or understood pro- 
phecy of that particular region, and this is in a certain way a presage of future 
things, stupendous, rare, and never heard of before. 

We have seen a threefold separation into threefold forms already made 
from the mystery. There remains, in like manner, a fourth and ultimate 
separation. It will be the last of all, none will come after it. Then all the 
others will perish, and not even the Mystery will remain. By that separation 
all things are reduced to their supreme principle, and that only remains which 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 259 

existed before the Great Mystery, and is eternal. That, however, should not 
be accepted in the sense that I am to be turned into something, or that, in the 
ultimate separation something will be produced out of me, except by death. I 
am reduced to nothing, as if being produced by reason, I came forth from 
nothing. And when the sum total of things shall return to their principle it is 
well that we should know how it takes place. When they are turned to 
nothing, then they exist in their prime. That prime must be sought in the 
beginning. What that means— the going into nothingness — must be accounted 
one of the secrets. The soul which dwells in me was made of something. 
Therefore it does not pass into nothingness, because it is built up of this some- 
thing. Of nothing nothing comes — nothing is generated. A figure painted 
into a picture, when it is there, has been certainly made of something. But we 
are not thus constituted in the aether out of something — like a picture. Why ? 
Why, because we came forth from the Great Mystery, not from anything pro- 
created therefrom. So we return to nothing. If the figure be blotted out 
with a sponge, it leaves nothing behind it, and the picture returns to its former 
shape. So, assuredly, all creatures will be reduced to their primeval state, that 
is, to nothingness. And if we would know why all things must be reduced to 
nothingness, let us learn that it is on account of the eternity that stirs within 
rational corporeities. Such an ultimate separation is the ultimate matter. 
There will be centred all the numerous procreations, permixtions, conversions, 
transmutations, alterations, and the like ; to know the sum total whereof 
surpasses the scope of the human intelligence. 


Moreover, as it is certain from philosophy that all those things which 
minister as auxiliaries to what is perishable and mortal are themselves equally 
mortal with that to which they subserve, and that what is divided cannot be 
again conjoined — as coagulated milk is not restored to its freshness— so we 
must philosophise that the Great Mystery does not return to that from which 
it proceeded. Hence it should be realised that all creatures are a picture of 
the supreme arcanum, and so nothing more than, as it were, the colouring 
spread over a wall. So we spend our time beneath the aether. One or 
another may be destroyed and turned to nothingness. As a picture is liable 
to destruction or conflagration, so is the Great Mystery, and we with it. All 
creatures, together with the Great Mystery itself, perish, are wiped out, and 
reduced like some wood which burns down to a small heap of ashes. But out 
of those ashes is made a little glass ; the glass is made into a small beryl, 
and the beryl passes away into wind. In the same way shall we be con- 
sumed, passing from one thing to another, until nothing more of us any 
longer survives. Such as was the beginning of creatures, such shall be their 
end. If from a little seed a cypress tree can be produced, surely it can be 

brought back again into as small a compass as that first little seed was. The 


26o The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

seed and the beryl are alike ; and as the beginning is from the seed, so in the 
beryl will be the end. The separation having been thus made, and every 
single thing brought back to its nature or first principle, that is, to nothing, 
then within the aether there will be nothing that is not eternal, but all will be 
without end. That from which the non-eternal came into existence will 
flourish far more widely than before the beginning of creatures. It has no 
frailty in it, no mortality. And as glass cannot be consumed by a creature, so 
neither can that eternal essence ever be reduced to nothingness. 


When, therefore, the last separation shall be the dissolution of all 
created things, and one after another is consumed and perishes, from that 
circumstance the time of those things is recognised. For after the gener- 
ation of created things there is in them no passing away. The seed of 
the old supplies the place of that which perishes. In this way, something 
eternal shews itself in mortals without any distinction, by the renewal 
of other seed. This the philosopher ignores. He neither admits nor takes 
count of any eternal seed. And yet he admits putrefaction ; in course 
of which that which is eternal is taken back again into the eternal. 
In this respect, man alone of all created things comprises in himself some- 
thing eternal joined to that which is mortal. Since, therefore, on the 
aforesaid reasoning, the mortal and the eternal are combined, it should be 
known that the mortal prepares an essence in the stomach, and sustains the 
merit of the body. And this is so because the eternal part of man lives for 
ever, but the mortal part feebly dies out. And as with the body, so with that 
eternal part which proceeds from that body. This is the great marvel of 
philosophy, that the mortal part dominates and sways with its nod the eternal 
part itself, and this depends upon the man himself. He, therefore, in this way, 
is more the partner of his eternal portion than is that one from whom emanated 
both the mortal and the eternal parts of man. Hence it can be gathered that 
the mortal parts of all creatures dwell together — that is to say, the rational 
and the irrational parts— the one subserving the use of the other in succession, 
and that an eternal element is inserted into a mortal one, both dwelling together 
simultaneously. Whence philosophy teaches that all those things which dwell 
together without disagreement, without deceit or fraud, without good or evil, 
cannot be destroyed and consumed. But this would be the case if one were 
opposed to the other. In those, however, wherein the eternal does not dwell 
no indication is found. But those where the eternal is will not lack such 
indication. Now, if discord ensues in this way, the one eternal is compelled 
to give account to the other, and to pay what is due for injuries inflicted by the 
one upon the other. And when compensation regards the eternal it is not 
undertaken by that which is mortal ; for though bodies conciliate one another, 
still, if anything remains over and above here, that is eternal. So, then, is 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. . 261 

that which alone is eternal judged in us. And whilst one demands account 
of the other, all the mortal parts which bear the eternal within them are com- 
pelled to die out, so that the eternal may alone survive without the concurrence 
of the body. So is the judgment completed. For that alone is eternal, nor is 
there more of it ; in the final passing away all is mortal.* If, then, that which 
they embraced within themselves of an eternal nature thus perished, nothing 
remains but that it was per se eternal, and that it nourished and increased the 
mortal portion. That which profits not does not remain in the creature. All 
the rest is present only for the sake of the eternal. Hence it happens that, 
together with that which the mortal holds within itself of eternity, all those 
elements which sustained it perish and die out. So, then, it is clear, that the 
end of human affairs is in nothingness, whereto they all tend. From their 
essence they are separated into nothingness— that is, from something to nothing. 
In man, however, a perfect separation, that is, of the eternal from the mortal, 
is yet wanting. For here the judgment is clear which, in all things within the 
sether, denounces frailty. And if no reason could co-exist with frailty, there 
would be no passing away in creatures ; all would be eternal. There is one 
single cause for all this, namely, that we mortals do not dwell injustice, nor do 
we give just judgments, nay, we have not received the faculty of judging what 
is eternal. This power belongs to the eternal part. And in order that we 
may gain this power, it is necessary that we should all be collected and come 
together. And so the passing away of all things is desired. 


Since it has been said, then, that all things were created from the Great 
Primal Mystery, and that they pass away in like manner, it follows as an 
evident consequence that some such Great Mystery must exist. This is nothing 
more than saying that a house has been built by a word. This is an attribute 
of the eternal, just as it is possible for man to elicit fire where there is no fire, 
and from that which is not fire. The flint has no fire, though it emits fire 
from itself. So in the Great Mystery all Primal Mysteries were existent in a 
latent form and after a threefold manner, in respect of vegetative, elementary, 
and sensible things. The vegetative things were many hundreds, nay, many 
thousands. Every kind in the Great Mystery had its own specialty. With 
regard to the elements, there were only four. These four only had their 
principles. But men were innumerable. One kind were the loripedes, another 
the Cyclopes, another the giants, another the mechili. In like manner, there 
are those who dwell in the earth, in the air, in the water, in the fire. So, also, 
every kind of growing thing had its own proper mystery in the Great Mystery, 
and from thence emerged all the multifarious created things. There are as 
many mysteries as there are trees or men. The eternal alone dominates in 

* The text at this point is scarcely capable of an intelHgible rendering. 

262 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

man, and in the whole of his mystery, not in one more than in another. In the 
Great Mystery was no kind which was not infinitely formed and coloured, one 
differently from another. Now, all these things are to perish. What then 
happens we forbear to say, but — A new Mysterium Magnum is not possible. 
That would be a greater miracle than we are able even to speculate about. 




SINCE, then, there was a something by which, in the course of separation, 
all created things issued forth, in the very beginning we must hold that 
there is some difference of gods, and that of the following kind : Since 
created things are divided into eternal and mortal, the reason of this is that 
there existed another creator of mysteries who was not the supreme or the 
most powerful. For that Supreme One should be the judge and the chastiser 
of all creatures, and should know how much had been conceded to them, 
seeing that they might do either good or evil, although not produced by him- 
self. Moreover, created things are continually stirred up and instigated to 
evil rather than good ; they are driven by the stars, by fate, and by the 
infernal power ; when, if created things had issued forth from the Supreme 
himself, it would be impossible that we should be forced to these properties 
of evil or of goodness, but we should enjoy free will in all respects without 
any such impulsion ; whereas the creature has not wisdom enough to know 
good or evil, or to distinguish between what is eternal and what is mortal. 
For many are foolish and destitute of mind, scarce one in a thousand is wise. 
The greater part are false prophets, teachers of lies, masters of ignorance. 
They are openly esteemed foremost persons, though they are in no sense such. 
The cause is obvious. We are creatures who do not receive what is good and 
perfect from our masters, but we are chiefly built up by the mortal gods, who 
in the Great Mystery had indeed some power, but, nevertheless, were placed 
by the Eternal for judgment, both to themselves and to us. 


Now if, as we know by separation, the created universe consisted of four 
elements only, and proceeded therefrom, these four will be literally the 
matrices of all creatures, and are called the elements. And although every 
created thing is so far an element, or has a portion of an element, it is not 
really like an element, but like the spirit of an element. But then, too, 

264 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

nothing can subsist without an element. Moreover, even the elements them- 
selves cannot coexist. Indeed, there is nothing which consists of four, three, 
or two elements. Each single element exists apart ; and every created thing 
has only one element. It is mere blindness on the part of those who set down 
humidity for an element of water, or burning for an element of fire. An 
element is not to be defined according to body, or substance, or quality. 
What is visible to the eyes is only the subject or receptacle. But an element 
is spirit, and Uves and flourishes in those things as the soul in the body. This 
primal matter of the elements is invisible and impalpable, but present in all. 
For the first matter of the elements is nothing else than life, which all created 
things possess. What is dead subsists no longer in any element but in 
ultimate matter wherein flourishes neither any taste, nor virtue, nor force. 


All created things in the universe, then, were born of four mothers, that 
is to say, of four elements. These four elements, it should be remarked, 
exactly sufficed for the creation of all things. Neither more nor fewer were 
requisite. In mortal things more than four natures cannot subsist. In 
immortal natures, it is true, temperaments can subsist, not elements. What- 
ever " elementure " (if I may use that term) exists, is dissoluble; but, on the 
other hand, temperature does not involve in itself the idea of dissolution. Its 
condition is such that nothing can be added to it or taken away from it, nothing 
decays, nothing perishes. This being the mortal condition, therefore, as has 
been said, it can be understood that all things subsist in four natures, and each 
nature has the name of its element. The warm is the element of fire. The 
cold is the element of earth. The moist is the element of water. The dry is 
the element of air. The next thing to be considered is how each of the afore- 
said natures is what it is peculiarly or separately. Fire is only warm, not dry, 
not moist. Earth is only cold, not dry, not moist. Water is only moist, and 
not warm, not cold. Air is only dry, and not warm, not cold. Thus it is 
they are called elements. They are of one single and simple nature, not of a 
twofold one. This declaration on the subject holds good for all created things, 
that an element is that which subsists with body and substance, and thus 
operates. The chief point to be understood on the subject of elements is that 
they each and all have only a single and simple nature, moist, dry, cold, or 
hot. This is the condition of spirits. Every spirit is simple, not double, in its 
nature ; and this is the case with the elements. 


Now, if it should be that composites do exist in us mortals, this scarcely 
coincides with the opinions of the ancients. The colic comes from the element 
of fire. It is not compounded of heat and dryness, but it is only hot. In like 
manner with the other complexions. And so, if any disease be detected where 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 265 

heat and dryness are combined, one can only come to the conclusion that the 
two elements exist, one in the spleen and the other in other members. Two 
elements cannot be in the same member. It is certain that in every member 
dwells some one element which is peculiar to it ; a subject which we leave for 
physicians to define. This, however, cannot consistently be said, that two 
elements exist at the same time in the same place, or that one and the same 
element is both warm and moist. Such a composite is not forthcoming-. The 
elements know nothing of a compound, for the reason already given. Where 
heat is there cold cannot be, nor dryness, nor humidity. So, in the same way, 
where cold is, there none of the others is present. The same is the case with 
moisture and dryness. Every element is per se simple and solitary, not 
twofold in its composition. Whatever philosophy may concede as to the pos- 
sibility of conjunction of elements — as of heat with humidity— all this goes for 
nothing. No element of water bears heat. No heat can subsist in humidity. 
Every element stands by itself alone. Cold cannot of itself tolerate dryness. 
That subsists by itself uncontaminated. This may be said and understood of 
the special essence of the elements. All dryness is a dissolution of cold. Just as 
humidity and dryness cannot be conjoined, so much the less can coldness and 
dryness and humidity, or warmth or dryness meet together and co-exist. As 
heat and cold are contraries, so heat and cold stand in the relation of contra- 
riety to moisture and dryness. 


It would be erroneous if we wished to assert that because all things are 
made up of four elements, they therefore necessarily exist in conjunction. 
Every conjunction is a composition. Since they are compounded, they cannot 
be the Great Mystery. Every Mystery is simple and a single element. There 
is a similar difference between elements and compounds. An element, as like- 
wise a mystery, can generate a divertallum. A compound can generate 
nothing except what is like itself, as men make men. But a mystery does not 
produce a mystery like itself. It produces something different as a divertallum. 
The element of fire is the producer of stars, planets, and the whole firmament, 
and yet none of these is formed or constituted like fire. The element of water 
has constituted water, which is altogether contrary to the element of water. 
The element of water per se is not at all moist. It is true the element itself 
has this kind of moisture, that it softens stones and hard metals. But this 
remarkable power of softening is taken from it by substantial water,- so that 
its virtue is not perfect. The element of air is so dry that in one moment it 
dries all waters. But this power is taken away and destroyed by substantial 
air. The element of earth is so cold that it reduces all creatures to their 
ultimate matter, as, for example, water to crystal and * to Dualech, animals to 
marble, and trees to giants. The foundation of the knowledge of the elements 
is to understand that they are of such remarkable and prompt activity and 
efficacy that nothing else like them can be found, or even conceived. The 

266 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

things in which they reside are attracted and assumed by them as if it were by 
a fate which is corporeal, and without these has not the smallest amount of 

In order more fully to understand what an element is, it should be realised 
that an element is really neither more nor less than a soul. Not, indeed, that 
it is of precisely the same essence as a soul, but it corresponds with a certain 
degree of resemblance. There is a difference between the elemental soul and 
the eternal soul. The soul of the elements is the life of all created things. 
Fire which burns is not the element of fire, as we see it ; but its soul, invisible 
to us, is the element and the life of fire. The element of fire can be present in 
green wood no less than in fire. But the life itself is not equally present as it 
is in fire. There is again a difference between the soul and the life. Fire, if 
it lives, burns. But if it be in its soul, that is, in its element, it lacks 
all power of burning. It does not follow that a cold thing must have 
proceeded from a cold element. It may often proceed from a warm one. 
Many cold things issue forth from the element of fire. Whatever grows is of 
the element of fire, but in another shape. Whatever is fixed is from the 
element of earth. Whatever nourishes is from the element of air ; and what- 
ever consumes is from the element of water. Growth belongs only to the 
element of fire. Where that element fails there is no increment. Except the 
element of earth supplied it there would be no end to growth. This fixes it ; 
that is to say, it supplies a terminus for the element of fire. So, also, unless 
the element of air were to act, no nutrition could be brought about. By the 
air alone are all things nourished. Again, nothing can be dissolved or 
consumed unless the element of water be the cause. By it all things are 
mortified and reduced to nothing. 


But although the elements are thus in other respects altogether invisible 
and impalpable, and are thus hidden from us, they have, nevertheless, the 
power of putting forth their own mysteries. Thus, the element of fire gives 
forth from itself the firmament ; not, indeed, by any corporeal method, but on 
the scale of the elementary essence. The sun has a body different from that 
which he has received from the element of fire. Nevertheless, in this same he 
exists essentially with heat. For his heat does not arise from his motion or 
his rotation ; it is from himself. Though the sun stood still and never moved, 
he would still put forth his heat and brightness. The crystal has given the 
sun from the element of fire, though it has no other body than that which it 
has received from the element of the fire.* For thence the elements are (if I 
may so say) incorporated. The sun and the other stars, in like manner, 

* This literal rendering seems to be without a reasonable meaning. 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 267 

derived their origin from the element of fire, but only in a red colour, in which 
no heat or glow, but only a kind of dead splendour, inheres. And although 
signs appear in the sky differing in form and species — which we do not 
enumerate here— still the same form is to be understood as with ourselves on 
earth. It is not one only but multifarious, whether known or unknown to us. 
When the mystery of fire was divided off, a certain something was produced, 
such as we see. So the stars are daughters of the element of fire, and the sky 
is nothing but chaos, that is, vapour exhaled from the firmament, and so 
fervid as to be, in this respect, indescribable. That fervour or heat it is which 
gives coruscations, and colours, and appearances ; for in that region is the 
pure element of fire, as shall be pointed out at greater length in its proper 


In the same way as the fire put forth its different species and essences, so 
in like manner did the element of air. And yet there is a certain difference in 
the four elements as to those things which are procreated from them. Each 
of them produces after his kind. The firmament is like neither of the other 
three. Fate is from the air, and is not like those other three. Those signed 
by the earth cannot be in any way compared to the other three. In the same 
way are marine monsters related to the rest. For each single element has 
procreated in itself both rational and irrational things. The sky has in its 
firmaments rational creatures just as much as the element of earth has. In 
the same way, too, the fate of the air is distinct as to its signature in the 
matter of rationality and brutality. And the same is true of earth and of 
water. Who is he, then, who shall assure us as to the truth about these 
signed elements ? Who are they that have the true faith handed down and 
entrusted to them, and the right way of salvation, or who alone shall possess 
eternity — matters which we pass by for the present ? It cannot be but that 
human beings dwell in all four of these just as in one of them, that is, the 
earth. And on the subject of fate, it should be made known that its genera- 
tion from the element is manifold, and yet without any body or substance, 
according to the property of the air (which is incorporeal), together with its 
habitation. For some things have it corporeally, others incorporeally, as the 
thing is understood. 


It is perfectly well known that from one seed emerges a root, divided into 
many filaments. Afterwards rises a stem, then branches are suspended there ; 
flower, fruit, and seed come forth. Exactly similar is the method of manifold 
procreations from the four elements. Thus, all those which are from one 
element cohere, as the herb is produced from one seed. Yet all these growths 
are not exactly like their own seed. Those things procreated from the water 

268 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

are partly men, partly animals, and partly what these feed upon. One element 
has left its signature as both its necessity and its sustentation ; then it also 
gives sign of its course and its advent, w^hich are easily recognised by the 
stars, not because these rule or influence us, but only because they run con- 
currently with us, and imitate the inner movement of our body. And no less 
in the element of water all those things are produced which are produced in 
the element of earth. The lorind is a commotion and change of this element 
of water. This moves itself ; and the lorind is like a comet. A monster in 
the water should be accepted in just the same way as an error of the firma- 
ment. So in the water a special world is to be recognised, together with its 
mystery, even to the end of the world. There is no beginning in these save 
that which is in the other elements ; nor is there any other end than is found 
in the other elements. The only difference is of forms, essence, and natures, 
accruing to them, with their signatures and elements. Thus we must under- 
stand the four worlds according to the four elements and their primary habita- 
tions. With regard to justice there is only one eternal, which is to be 
recognised alike in all four. 


In the element of earth there is much intelligence for us, because we 
ourselves came forth thence. Each like thing understands its like. But the 
understanding of the four elements flows out from philosophy. This, again, is 
Uke, flowing out as it does from the same source as that from which philosophy 
afterwards rises. Nevertheless, as the element of earth has procreated its sig 
nature, so have also the other elements procreated theirs. Just as we have 
stones, so are they not lacking in the other elements, though those stones may 
not be made according to the same form as ours, but in their own peculiar 
form and with their own special properties. The other elements have also 
their minerals no less than we have. The celestial firmament puts forth its floral 
growths as well as its mineral products, and these we reckon among miracles. 
Here, however, we make the greatest possible mistake, because we reckon 
natural processes among prodigies, and give it out like prophets that this or that 
appearance of the firmament portends something special, when we ought to 
understand that such things happen only in the ordinary course of events. But 
if such thing does occasionally happen we ought to believe that such was our 
course or condition. In the meantime, if anything suffers from the error of 
the elements, the other things grow uncertain too. All ought to proceed with 
a perfect and unimpeded motion, and though the other three elements serve us 
for nutriment, just in the same way do their other three serve the firmament, 
the air, the water, and those who dwell in them. One derives its nutriment 
from the other, just like many trees in a garden. And the defects and errors 
of the firmament can be observed by us no less than the firmament observes 
our defects. And the same judgment may be passed as to the rest. 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians, 269 


That philosophy, then, is foolish and vain which leads us to assign all 
happiness and eternity to our element alone, that is, the earth. And that is a 
fool's maxim which boasts that we are the noblest of creatures. There are 
many worlds : and we are not the only beings in our own world. And the 
ignorance becomes more marked when we fail to recognise those human beings 
who spring from our own element, as the nocturnals, the gnomes, etc. Though 
they do not live in the open light of day, nor use the brightness of the firma- 
ment, but hate what we enjoy and enjoy what we hate, and, moreover, are 
like us neither in shape, nor in essence, nor in their sustenance ; still, that is 
not a subject for our wonder. They were made up as they are in the Great 
Mystery. We are not the only beings made ; there were many more whom 
we do not know. We ought to conclude, then, that not one simple single body 
but many bodies were included in the Great Mystery, though there existed only 
in general the eternal and the mortal. But in how many forms and species 
the elements produced all things cannot be fully told. But let all doubt be 
removed that eternity belongs to all these. In this way, certainly, many things 
which are now unknown will be investigated and in different ways become 
cognisable by us, not concerning those existences only which have the eternal 
element in them, but of those which sustain and nourish that eternity. For 
eternity maybe understood in two ways. On& is that of kingdom and domina- 
tion ; the other that of ornamentation and decoration. It is opposed to all true 
philosophy to say that flowers lack their own eternity. They may perish and die 
here ; but they will re-appear in the restitution of all things. Nothing has 
been created out of the Great Mystery which will not inhabit a form beyond 
the aether. 


The universal procreations indicate that all things must have four mothers, 
neither more nor fewer. Not, however, that this can be understood from the 
basis of the general demonstration concerning the present Great Mystery as it 
appears in the beginning according to its properties ; but rather the Great 
Mystery is known and understood by the ultimate mysteries, and by the pro- 
creations which have gone forth having their origin in the first. It is not the 
beginning but the end which makes either a philosopher or a magistrate. The 
knowledge of a thing according to its perfect nature is only found at the end of 
its essence. Perhaps there might have been more elements than have been 
given to us. In the latest knowledge of all things, however, only four are 
found. And although we can, indeed, suppose that it would have been easy for 
God, who only created four, to have created more by the same operation ; still, 
when we see all mortal things made up of these four only, we shall not do ill to 
believe that more than these would not have been well. It is reasonable to 
think, perhaps, that after the destruction of the four elements spoken of, certain 
others will come into existence essentially unlike those before mentioned ; or. 

270 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

that after the passing away of the present creation a new Mysterium Magnum 
may supervene, and we have a better and fuller cognition of it than we had of 
that which shall then have passed away. We base nothing on this idea, but 
to every one who would know the origin of the universe we say, that he must 
understand the world to have sprung from the elements ; and as there are four 
elements, so there are four worlds, and in each exists a peculiar race, each 
with its own necessities. 


Though all things exist in the four elements whereof we have spoken, we 
could not, however, insist that there are four elements in all things, or that 
four elements abide in all things. The reason is this. The world which is 
separated and procreated from the element of fire needs neither air, nor water, 
nor earth. By the same argument, the world of air needs neither of the other 
three. The same is equally true of the earth and the air (sic ? water). For the 
doctrine of the elements does not lay it down that the world must be sustained 
by the four elements, but rather that everything is conserved by one element, 
namely, by that from which it is sprung. And although you may not deny that 
the firmament nourishes the world by means of its elementary forces, which 
are all igneous, as they descend to the earth, still that nutrition is not a matter 
of necessity. Neither is the world going to perish by itself, but suffices for its 
own sustentation, just as also any other world nourishes itself without the help 
of the earth. For example, the earth confers nothing on the water as respects 
its own proper essence, nor, on the other hand, the water on the earth. The 
same is the case with the air. Yet still we do not take the course hereof to be 
that each world exists solely, or per se, in its own element, but rather that the 
light from heaven is, as it were, something drawn from the four elements, and 
most noble in its full and perfect properties. But let no one on this account 
imagine that the sun received his brightness and his motion from the element 
of fire, since neither the planets did this, but rather from an arcanum. The 
splendour of the firmament irradiating the world emanated, not from the 
element of fire, but from the arcanum. The earth of itself gives Tronum, 
the water Turas, and the air Sarnies. These proceed, not from the element 
but from the arcanum, and are present in the element. In the arcanum the 
four worlds agree in this way, that they are useful to each other in turn, 
afford mutual nutriment, and sustain one another; not, however, from the 
nature of the elements, for they are themselves elements. 


That man lives, sees, hears, and the rest, is due not to the elements, but 
rather to the arcana, and especially to the monarchy. Such is also the case 
with other creatures. The sole entertainment and nutrition is elementary. 
Understand that whatever is eternal proceeds from the arcanum, and is the 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 271 

arcanum. Dogs die, and their arcanum remains. A man dies. His arcanum 
remains, and still more, his soul, which causes him to be so many degrees more 
worthy than the dog. The same is, in like manner, the case with all growing 
things. Hence has sprung up an error that in the new Mysterium Magnum all 
created things which have ever existed, will ultimately appear, not essentially, 
now, but in an arcane manner. We do not say that the arcanum is an essence 
like the immortal, but that it is this in its perfection. The element of fire has 
an arcanum in itself. From this there are added, or there flow out to the 
other three, light, brightness, influence, increase, but not from the element. 
These arcana could exist without the element itself, just as the element without 
the arcanum. But mark, moreover, that the element of air has in itself an 
arcanum from which nutriment is supplied to all the other three and to itself, 
not as an element from itself, but as an arcanum by means of the element. 
The element of earth has in itself the arcanum of permanence and fixation, 
which imparts to the others the virtues of duration and generation, so that 
nothing may perish. The element of water has the arcanum of sustentation 
for all the elements, and conserves whatever is in them, so that it escapes 
destruction. In this respect, too, there is a difference between an element and 
an arcanum. The one is mortal or perishable from the elements, the other 
permanent in the ultimate Mysterium. Magnum, wherein all things will be 
renewed, yet no other things will be produced save what have been. 


We come to the conclusion, then, that all the elements are not joined 
together, but that they are altogether aerial, or igneous, or terrestrial, or 
aqueous, solely and without admixture. This, also, is settled, that every 
element nourishes itself, or that does which is in it or its world. For this 
reason a medicine drawn from the element of water is of no avail for 
who are from the element of earth, or any other, but only nymphs, sirens, and 
the like. So, also, a terrene medicine does not benefit the three other worlds, 
but only the animals of its own world. The same is to be said of the air ; for 
in the air there are diseases and physicians — learned and unlearned — just as in 
our own world, each having its own peculiar mode. So with the fire. If it some- 
times happens that nymphs copulate with terrestrials, and children are born, 
it is open to question whether this can happen from the possibility of ravish- 
ment. By this power other aerial beings, such as melosinse, have intercourse 
with terrestrials. So, too, the trifertes are borne from the fire to the earth. 
Now, if three of these unfamiliar beings should come from their world to ours, 
as we have said, they would be looked upon as gods compared with us, on 
account of the vast distance between us, and the entirely foreign essence which 
they possess. But if a man can be carried to them, there is a corresponding 
power of being borne to them (sic). So, then, the elements have no need one of 
the other ; only one is the ark or receptacle of another. As water and earth 

272 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

are mutually separated, so, in like manner, the air and the fire each occupies 
a special position without any contact of the four elements, save that which is 
like the party-wall of a house. 


If there is at length to follow a conjunction and a gathering together in 
which all things shall return to their primal essence, then that will be an 
arcanum, and, indeed, according to the aspect or appearance of the elements. 
For there nothing corporeal can appear from generation, but the appearance 
and present exhibition of all the generations contained will supply that place, 
and so all those things will be known to everyone which have before been 
made, or shall afterwards be made, which also will be as well known as if 
they were seen before the very eyes ; yet, still herein is a hidden perception of 
the ultimate Great Mystery. And that will be known or made certain not by 
Nature, but from a knowledge as to the causes of the final separation of the 
elements and of all created things : where each one will give an account of 
his own death. That is the cause of the perishable, of the living, and of the 
permanent. For there will be one Judge who has power from the eternal, 
and from age to age there has been this one Judge. This, also, is the cause 
or origin of religions, and of the different mjstae who serve the gods, all of 
which customs are false and erroneous. For no other judge has ever existed 
except the one God, who has been the Judge from eternity. It is too impious 
a piece of folly to wish to worship one who is mortal, perishable, and liable 
to decay, in place of the Author of creation and the Ruler of the eternal. 
Whatever dies has no power of governing and of ruling. There is only one wav 
and one religion, nor should others be rashly adopted. 


If, therefore, whatsoever things are created return to that unto which 
they were predestinated from the beginning, in that place an arcanum will be 
produced. For predestination is, as it were, the ultimate matter, which 
will be without element, and without present essence ; but that which is 
temporated and that which is incorrupt will the more certainly follow. 
For these things are not understood by the spirit, but from Nature, with this 
evidence that the eternal follows the mortal. For, if an insensible plant 
perishes, then something eternal succeeds to its place. There is no frail or 
fading thing in the whole world which does not substitute in its place some- 
thing which is eternal. Nothing has been created void, nothing that is 
mortal without a succession of what is eternal. After the end of all created 
objects these eternal things will meet together, and be collected not only as 
nutriments, but as a magistery of Nature, both in the perishable and in the 
eternal. And thus the eternal is a sign of the dissolution of Nature, and not 
the beginning of created things, and the end in all things which no nature is 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 273 

without. And although, indeed, the fatal beings, such as melosinse and 
nymphs, are to have something eternal behind them, yet we will not here 
treat of their corruption. For a manifold decay is here involved, inasmuch as 
there are four worlds. For decay is terrestrial, aerial, igneous, and aqueous. 
Each of these, with those created with it, is turned and led downwards to 
decay with the eternal which is left. Nevertheless, these four decays will 
reduce their eternal portion to one similitude, notably and visibly, not with 
their works, but with their essence. For each eternal thing is a single 
habitation, prevailing, however, in many differences. 


We must not pass by in silence the evestrum, according to its essence ; 
it is either mortal or immortal. The evestrum is like a shadow on a wall. 
The shadow grows and originates with the body, and remains with it up to its 
ultimate matter. The evestrum has its origin with the first generation of 
everything. Everything animate and inanimate, sensible and insensible, has 
conjoined with itself an evestrum, just as everything casts a shadow. The 
trarames is understood to be, as it were, a shadow of the invisible essence. 
It is born with the reason and the imagination of both intelligent animals and 
of brute beasts. To philosophise about the evestrum and the trarames belongs 
to the very highest philosophy. The evestrum gives prophecy, and the trarames 
gives acumen. To prophecy about what shall happen to a man or animal, or 
even to a piece of wood, belongs to the shadowed evestrum. What will be the 
method comes from the trarames. So the evestra either have a beginning or 
have it not. Those which have a beginning carry dissolution with them, 
together with something eternal surviving. That which has no beginning 
possesses the power of sharpening the traramium in the intellect. The mortal 
evestrum knows the eternal. This knowledge is the mother of prophecy. For 
the foundation of all intellect is from the evestrum as it is extracted or elicited 
by the light of Nature. Thus the prophet " evestrates," that is, he vaticinates 
by means of the evestrum. If the spirit prophecies, that is without the light of 
Nature. So it is for us fallacious, liable to imposture and uncertain, as also 
certain and true. And in the same way the trarames also, as the shadow of 
reason, may be divided. 


Moreover, in the dissolution of all things the evestrum also and the trarames 
will be dissolved, but not without some relics of the eternal. So, then, the 
evestrum is exactly as it were the firmament in the four worlds. The firmament 
is fourfold, according to the four worlds, divided into four perfect essences, 
each world perfectly regarding its own creation, because It is itself of that 
nature : one in the earth from the firmament, one in the water, air, and fire 
respectively. But the firmament which is in the evestrum is dispersed, not 

2 74 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

stars which are visible, but these are firmaments to the nymphs which are not 
stars. Neither do they use stars, but they have a peculiar and proper firma- 
ment as fates ; the igneous have each their private heaven, earth, abode, 
dwelling, firmament, stars, planets, and other like things, which are not in the 
least the one like the other. As water and fire, the substantial and the impalpable, 
the visible and the invisible, stand mutually related to one another, so is it 
with matters of this kind. In these the evestrum is divided with respect to 
fatal things, and remains a shadow of itself after its essence from dissolution ; 
and the evestrum after fire adheres to the igneous man, as another to the 
aqueous, and another to the terrene. This evestrum falsifies and deludes the 
world, shadowing itself by fraud from one world to another, shewing visions, 
splendours, signs, forms, and appearances. Hence arise the evestrum of 
comets, the evestrum of impressions, the evestrum of miracles. These three 
are the prophetic evestra and the shadowed evestra. 


It is, however, firstly and chiefly, necessary that we should know this 
prophet evestrum. For turban is the great essence of this kind, presaging all 
things which are in the four worlds. For whatever is about to happen by way of 
prodigy, and against Nature, or against common opinion and life, is known 
by the prophet evestrum, which is taken, and shadows itself forth from the 
great turban. It is most necessary that the prophet should know the great 
turban. It is most difiicult to be understood, and is united with reason. It is, 
therefore, possible for a mortal man to know the great turban even to its 
extreme resolution. By this all the prophets spoke ; for in it are all the signs 
of the world. From it all evestra are born, from it the comets are shadowed, 
prodigious stars which arise contrary to the usual course of the heavens. 
From turban all impressions get their beginning, not from the firmament or 
from the stars. As often as something unheard of and rare is about to happen, 
outsiders sally forth and messengers in advance, by whom the coming mis- 
fortune is announced to the people. These presages are not natural, but they 
come from the prophetic evestrum. All epidemics, wars, seditions, have their 
presages, which arise from turban. Whoever has knowledge of the properties 
of evestra, he is a prophet and a seer of futurity. For the Most High does 
not parley with men, nor does he send down angels from His throne to 
announce these things in advance. They are fore-known and understood 
from the great turban which many pagans and Jews have worshipped as God, 
being blinded in their senses and intellect as to who the true God was. 


Since, then, a shadowed evester is born with every created thing, and 
arises therefrom, it is well to know that by means thereof may be prognosti- 
cated the fortune and life of that thing whose evestrum it is. For example, 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 275 

when an infant is born there is born at the same time with it an evestrum 
constantly expressed in that same child, so that from the cradle to the hour of 
death it prophecies concerning the child, and points out what is going to 
happen. If it is to die, death does not arrive until the evestrum has announ- 
ced it beforehand, either by knocking, shaking, or falling, or by some other 
warning of this kind. Whence, if the evestrum be understood, it can be 
presaged that this is a sign of death. Moreover, the evestrum is united with 
the eternal. After the death of a man his evestrum remains upon earth and 
gives signs whether the man is in happiness or misery. 

Nor should one say, as simple folks do, that this is the spirit or soul of 
the man, or that the dead himself is walking about. This is the evestrum of 
the dead man which does not yield its place until the final end, in which all 
things will meet. This evestrum works signs. The gods, by their evestrum 
alone, have wrought miracles ; and as the sun in its splendour puts forth his 
heat, and his nature, and his essence, so it is in our case with the presaging 
and prophetic evestra, in which our trust should be placed. These evestra 
regulate sleep and sleeplessness, the prefigurations of future events, the nature 
of things, reason, concupiscence, and thought. 


In this way when future events are predicted in the elements by that in which 
evestra dwell, there will be evestra in water, some in mirrors, some in crystals, 
and some in polished surfaces ; some will be understood by the motion of waters, 
some by songs and animum ; for all these things can — so to say — " evestrate." 
The great and good God has a mysterious evestrum, in which are seen His 
essence and attributes. By the mysterial evestrum are known all that is good 
and all that is illuminated. On the other hand, the Damned Spirit himself 
has an evestrum in the world by which evil is known, together with all which 
violates and corrupts the law of Nature. But though these two evestrate, 
still they do not not in any way affect our life. Only by our evestrum shall 
we know ourselves. In all creatures are evestra, which are in all respects 
prophets, whether rational or irrational, whether gifted with sense or destitute 
of it. The evestrum is the spirit which teaches astronomy (astrology). Not 
that it is known by prognostications and nativities drawn from the stars ; but 
its essence, if I may so say, is in the evestra, and its being is in these, as an 
image in a mirror, or a shadow in water or on the ground. And, just as 
growing things increase or diminish, so is it with the stars ; not because from 
their own nature they have such a course, and damp and cold arise from the 
earth, but because the essence of the earth is such. So it is shadowed forth 
in heaven and over different parts according to the evestrum, and not as a 


Evestra of this kind will be corrupted, yet, nevertheless, they will not 

perish without the eternal. Nor will the evestra themselves be regarded, but 


276 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

they will dwell near those to whom they belong. Whence each will be its 
own adviser, so that before all else it may exhort and know itself. The 
nature and number of evestra is infinite. These guide the sleepers, fore- 
shadow good and evil, search into the thoughts, and accomplish the labours 
or the works without any bodily motion. So, then, the evestrum is a mar- 
vellous matter, and the mother of all things in prophets, in astronomers 
(astrologers), and in physicians. Unless the understanding thereof be sought 
through the evestrum there is no knowledge of Nature. As theft betokens 
punishment, as a cloud foretells rain, and lotium bespeaks disease, so the 
evestrum shews everything without any exception. By it the sibyls and prophets 
spoke, but, as it were, in a kind of sleep-wakefulness. In this way the 
evestra are in the four worlds, the one ever communicating to the other 
presage, image, and miracle ; and by their regeneration they will be found 
much more wonderful. Nor let us here omit to say that the evestrum is a 
remnant of the eternal, the sustainer of religions, and the mode of operation 
for celestial things. For happiness alone and blessedness, and the chief 
good, and the last judgment, move us, and instigate us the more keenly and 
more profoundly to search and to investigate what difference there is between 
these two, the true and the false ; and this must be weighed and learnt not 
spiritually, but naturally. 




EVERYTHING in existence necessarily has a body. The mode and 
manner may be understood as being like a smoky spirit, which indeed 
has substance, but is not a body, nor is it tangible. But, though this 
be the case, still both bodies and substances can be produced from it. This 
may be understood from fuming arsenic ; since after the generation of a body, 
nothing more is seen of the fume of the spirit, just as if it had been all reduced 
to a body. But this is not so. Something of a most subtle nature still remains in 
that place of generation. Thus by the process of separation there are produced 
something visible and something invisible. By this method and in this mode all 
things are propagated. Wood has still surviving the spirit from which it has 
been separated. So have stones, and so all things, without any exception. 
Their essence still survives just as it was separated from It. Man, in like manner, 
is nothing else than a relic and a survival from the separated fume. But mark 
this, that a certain spirit existed^ and from that man is made up, and is most 
subtle in spirit. This spirit is the index of a twofold eternity, one being the 
caleruthum, and the other the meritorium. The caleruthum is the indication 
in the first eternity. It seeks or makes for the other, that is, God. That is a 
natural cause because all things affect or tend towards that from which they 
proceeded, or those natures which have been in contact with it ; for whatever 
anything when building up used in the process, that the thing when it is built 
up desires after and pursues. And this should be understood, that a thing 
which has been buijt up does, by Nature, or by natural instinct, tend not 
towards its builder, but towards that from which it has proceeded. So the 
human body longs for the matter from which it has been separated, and not 
for God, since it was not taken out of Him. And that matter is the life and 
the habitation in which the eternal meritorium abides. So everything returns 
to its essence. 


Since, then, everything has an appetency for its source, that is, for the 
mystery whence it sprang, it must now be further understood that this is 

278 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

eternal life, and that what comes forth from thence is mortal. None the less, 
however, there remains in the mortal something eternal, that is, the soul, as 
may be learnt elsewhere. And if a perishable thing is to return to its pristine 
condition, that can only be done by a conjunction of what is permanent ; then 
at length there is a collocation and a union of things. The form and substance, 
however, both of transitory and of non-transitory things, proceeds from that 
spirit of fume, just as hail or lightning emerges from a cloud. These are 
corporeal, and that matter from which they have proceeded remains invisible. 
So, then, it may be laid down that all things spring from the invisible, yet, 
without its suffering loss, for the matter has always the power of regenerating 
and recuperating that loss. Hence, also, it happens that the whole world will pass 
away like snow and return to the same essence of the spirit of smoke, and then 
will come together or coalesce apart from all tangible essence. In this way, 
it can be again re-born as at first. Hence, also, it is known that no created 
thing exists which has been born, but only as it has been built up or created. 
So, the chief good is constituted in the beginning of all things that anything 
shall thus proceed from the invisible and become corporeal, and then shall 
afterwards be separated again from its body, and once more become invisible. 
Then all things are again joined together and united and reduced to their 
primal matter. And although, indeed, they may be united, yet still they 
involve some distinction and difference one from the other. One is the abode 
of the other ; that other is the inmate of the abode. For that is the habitation 
of all things ; sensible and insensible alike must all return to that condition 
and to that place. For, whether rational or irrational, nothing is free from 
this change, but will return to its habitation, from which it has been separated, 
and there appear. 


So, too, every body, or every tangible substance, is nothing else but 
coagulated smoke. Hence it may be assumed that such coagulation is 
manifold. One kind refers to wood, another to stone, a third to metal. But 
the body itself is none other than smoke, breathing forth from the matter or 
the matrix in which it is present. What grows from the ground is a smoke 
brought forth from the liquid of Mercury, which is various, and emits a 
manifold smoke for herbs, trees, and the like. But that smoke, if it issues 
forth from its primal, or as soon as it expires from the matrix touches foreign 
air, is thereupon coagulated. So this smoke constantly and persistently 
evaporates. As long, therefore, as it is driven and disturbed, so long the 
thing grows, but when the ebullition ceases the smoking also ceases. This 
terminates, too, both the coagulation and the growth. Wood is the smoke 
from Derses. Therein is latent a specific from which wood is produced. 
Nor is it only produced from this smoke ; it may be produced also from other 
dersic matter. In like manner, leffas is boiling matter, from the smoke of 
which all herbs are gendered. For the only predestination of herbs is leffa ; 

Tke Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 279 

there is no other. God is more wonderful in specifics than in all other 
natures. Stannar is the mother of metals, furnishing the first matter for 
metals by its fume. Metals, in fact, are "nothing but the coagulated fume 
from stannar. Enur is the fume of stones. In fine, whatever is corporeal is 
nothing but coagulated smoke, in which there is latent a specific predestina- 
tion. All things, too, will ultimately be resolved like smoke ; for the specific 
which coagulates has no power save for a definite time. The same may also 
be said of coagulation. All bodies will at last pass away and vanish in smoke, 
and will be terminated only in smoke. This is the consumption of everything 
corporeal, both living and dead. 


Man is coagulated smoke. Only from the boiling vapours and spermatic 
members of the body is the coagulation of spermatic matter produced. Man, 
too, will be resolved into a vapour of this kind ; so that death may be like 
birth. Moreover, we see in ourselves nothing else than that man is coagulated 
smoke formed by human predestination. Whatsoever, too, is taken or given 
forth is merely the coagulated fume from liquids. And so whatever is injected 
is consumed by the life on the same principle, so that the coagulation may be 
again dissolved and liquefied, as ice is liquefied by the sun, that it may after- 
wards vanish into the air like smoke. Life consumes everything ; for it is the 
spirit of consumption in all corporeities and substances. Here, too, attention 
must be given to the preparation of the digested mystery ; for if everything is 
due to return to that state from which it originated, and so anything is given 
forth, then it is consumed together with the life. This, however, happens 
only in those things which are not transmuted. Transmutation is not driven 
back or repressed ; and some transmutation is produced by means of life. 
Thus, then, is transmutation altered into the frailty of the body ; but, never- 
theless, it is again separated from the body. For in its putrefaction, 
transmutation has no further power, and in putrefaction the digested mystery 
ensues as a consequence. In the meantime, there are mutually separated all 
the properties which man had in himself from herbs and other things, each 
returning to its own essence. Separation is, in fact, like that process by 
which, if ten or twelve things are mixed they are again dissevered, so that 
each regains its own special essence. Thus, eating is nothing else than 
a dissolution of bodies. Hence the materials of bodies are separated in 
vomitings and dejections from the bowels, which are simply foetid smoke 
mixed with good. Nature, indeed, seeks only the subtle, avoiding what 
is dense. Stones, metals, and earths — in a word, all things — are dissolved 
by life ; nor is there any other dissolution of them by the body than that 
which is brought about by its life. 


Moreover, it is equally necessary to understand the process by which each 
separate thing regains its own essence. This cannot be more fitly compared 

28o The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

to anything than to fire, which is elicited from a hard flint, flaming and burn- 
ing beyond all natural knowledge. For, as that hidden fire takes its origin 
and proceeds to work its effects, in the same form and appearance also is the 
essence led to its nature. And here reflect that in the beginning there existed 
only one thing, without any inclination or speciality, and from this afterwards 
all things issued forth. This origin exactly resembles some well-tempered 
colour, purple for instance, having in itself no inclination to any other colour, 
but conspicuous in its just temperature Yet, notwithstanding, in that colour 
all colours are existent. For the other colours cannot be separated from it — 
red, green, blue, clay colour, white, black. Each of these colours, again, brings 
forth other blind colours, while yet each one is by itself entirely and properly 
tinted. And although many and various colours are latent in them, still, 
nevertheless, they are all hidden under one colour. In the same manner, too, 
everything had its essence in the Great Mystery, which the Supreme Architect 
afterwards separated. The crystal emits fire, not from a fiery nature, but on 
account of its hardness and solidity. It also hides in itself other elements, not 
essentially, but materially, ardent fire, blowing air, moistening water, and 
earth which is black and dry. Besides all these things it possesses in the 
composition of its qualities all colours, but hidden within itself, as the fire lies 
hid in the steel, betraying its presence neither by burning, nor by shining, nor 
by casting a colour. In this respect, all colours and all elements are present in 
everything. But how all things arrive at and penetrate to all other things, if 
anyone cares to know, let him believe that all these matters are brought about 
and cared for by Him alone, who is the Maker and Architect of all things. 


Although, as has been said, Nature lies invisibly in bodies and in sub- 
stances ; nevertheless, that invisibility is led to visibility by means of those 
bodies themselves. According as the essence of each is situated, so is it seen 
visibly in its virtues and in its colours. Invisible bodies, however, have no 
other method than this corporeal one. So mark, then, that the invisibles 
contain within themselves all the elements, and operate in every element. 
They can send forth from themselves fire and the virtue of its element ; and 
so, too, do they send forth air, as a man sends forth his breath, or water, as a 
man sends forth urine. They are also of the nature of earth, and sprung from 
the earth. Know this, too, that the liquid of the earth always boils, and sends 
forth on high, beyond itself, the subtle spirit which it contains in itself. From 
this are nourished the invisibles and the firmament itself, and this could not 
be done without vapour. Incorporeal as well as corporeal things need food 
and drink. For this reason stones come forth from the earth from a like 
spirit of their nature. Each one attracts its own to itself. , From the same 
source come spectres, fiery dragons, and the like. If, therefore, invisible as 
^well as visible are each in its own essence, this is due to the nature of the 

The Philosophy addressed to the Athenians. 281 

Great Mystery, as wood acquires ignition from a light or a taper, though this 
suffers no loss. And though, indeed, it be not corporeal, still it needs some- 
thing corporeal in order to escape death, which is produced by the wood. In 
the same way, all invisibles need to be sustained, nourished, and increased by 
some visible thing. With these, indeed, they will at length perish and come to 
an end, still, however, having their activity in them without any waste or loss 
to other things, that is to say, to the corporeal and the visible, although this is 
brought about by the invisible, and apprehended by the visible. 

The rest (Jor doubtless the author advanced further) has not come down to us. 


Written by the Doctor Theophrastus of Hohenheim. 

I have accounted it a thing at once convenient and reasonable that, seeing 
there is an order of the whole of astronomy, myself to explain the 
method by which it may be taught and known. It is the more needful 
that I should come forward because all science is completely corrupted and 
polluted by shameful notions, and imperatively calls for illumination by its 
true and genuine sense. Yet, having regard to the present times, I do not 
doubt that my labour will appear absurd and useless to many. I write these 
things by reason of those very persons— for the detection of their ignorant 
and random judgment. Such is the blindness of the world that it invariably 
prefers the name rather than that which the name signifies. 

Astronomy contains in itself seven faculties or religions ; he who does 
not know them all is unworthy to be called an astronomer. Let each man 
remain in that religion or faculty wherein he occupies himself; let the 
astologer deal with astrology ; he who treats of the religion of magic, let him 
remain exclusively a magus ; he who is concerned with divination, let him 
remain a diviner ; he who regards nigromancy, a nigromantic ; he who studies 
signatures, a signator ; he who is devoted to the uncertain arts, an incertus ; 
he who investigates matter, a physicist. Let not the astronomer deny that 
magic is astronomy, nor yet refuse the name to divination, nigromancy, and 
the rest. All these things are comprehended under astronomy as much as is 
astrology itself. They are natural and essential sciences of the stars, and he 
who is acquainted with them all, he is worthy to be called an astronomer. 
But albeit these sciences are sisters, they have heretofore been ignorant of 
their relationship, which it is important to recognise, so that one may not be 
despised by the other. 

As, however, astronomy does not lead to the life which is eternal, though 
it may be called the highest wisdom of mortals in the light of Nature, it is 

Hermetic Astronomy. 283 

not the highest wisdom of men. Beyond this wisdom there is another given 
from on high, which transcends the created and surpasses by far all mortal 
sapience. But, you will reply, the Father made the Light of Nature and also 
man himself. Blessed is the man who walks in that light for which he was 
formed, seeing that it derives from the Father ! But what follows? The Son 
gave the Light of Eternal Wisdom to man that he might also walk therein. 
Can one contaminate the other? Happy is he that walks in the Father, 
happy is he that walks in the Son ! It is right to live in both — in one to that 
which is mortal, in the other to that which is eternal. For whereas the 
Father is not angry with the Son, neither the Son angry with the Father, 
how then can the Light of Nature be separated from that which is eternal ? 
One remains in the other. Nevertheless, these twain are separated by him 
who hands over to another what does not belong to himself, and speaks from 
his mouth that which he knows not in his heart. Each one on earth has his 
special predestinated gift, and it is lawful for him to work therewith. This 
gift in the light of Nature has regard to the neighbour. But besides this 
there are the gifts of the Holy Spirit — that is to say, prophetic and apostolic. 
Those who hunger after the goods of their neighbour possess not the divine 
gift, and those who speak hypocrisy have not the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

I freely confess that I have seen no prophets or apostles. I have, 
however, seen their writings, which dictate an eternal wisdom, and for this 
reason I by no means prefer the light of Nature thereto, but tread it under 
my feet, for the prophets have prophesied such things as no astronomer 
could have done. The apostles have healed sufferers whom medicine could 
never have restored. Therefore the relation of the physician to the apostle is 
the same as that which obtains between the astronomer and the prophet. 
What physician can restore the dead to life ? Can any astronomer prophesy 
as David? Medicine is fallible, not so the apostles. But I only teach 
concerning ourselves as mortals in the light of Nature, with this limitation, 
that the wisdom of God is before all. The astronomer is acquainted with the 
figure, form, appearance, and essence of the heaven. The magus operates 
on the old and new heaven. The diviner speaks from the stars. The 
nigromancer controls sidereal bodies. The signator is versed in the micro- 
cosmic constellation. The adept in uncertain arts rules the imagination. The 
physicist composes. Now, those who give light on earth as torches in the 
Light of Nature shall shine, through Christ, as stars for ever. Wherefore 
let every one so consider these my sayings that he may gain the more from 
them than is written. The seed is cast into the earth, but it is another who 
giveth the increase. I, indeed, offer you the seed ; He who brings forth seed- 
time and harvest, may He so conduct you to the end that ye may rejoice in 
an abundant vine ! 


IN order that, before advancing to definitions and proofs, I may com- 
municate to you my full scheme, I would have you know somewhat 
concerning the stars. The whole machmery of the universe is divided 
into two parts, a visible body and an invisible body. The visible and 
tangible is the body of the universe, consisting of three primals, Sulphur, 
Mercury, and Salt. This is the elemental body of the universe, and the 
elements themselves are that body. The body which is not tangible, but 
impalpable and invisible, is the sidereal heaven or firmament. The firmament 
which we see is corporeal, visible, and material. This, however, is not the 
firmament itself, but its body. The firmament no one has ever seen, but only 
its body, just as the soul of man is not visible. The whole universe is thus 
divided into two parts, into body and firmament. Moreover, the firmament 
consists of two parts. One is in heaven among the stars ; the other in the 
globe of the earth. Hence two essences of the firmament are built up. One 
is peculiar to the firmament of heaven, and the other peculiar to the element 
of this globe and sphere. The firmament of the globe or sphere is of such a 
nature that out of it grows whatever the body of the earth or of the elements 
gives or appoints. Thus from the ground the firmament of the globe brings 
forth the fruits, which could not be accomplished without the firmament. 
And the same is the case with all things that are produced from the ground. 
The other firmament has its special operation in heaven, that is, it relates 
solely to man. Now, although both star-systems, the upper and the lower, are 
linked together, conjoined, united, and run one with the other, still there is this 
difference, that the upper stars govern the higher senses, and the lower govern 
growing things ; that is, the upper system arranges the anitnal intellect, and 
the lower those things which grow, springing forth from the sphere itself. 

Beyond what has been already said, I shall enter upon no discussion as to 
the firmament of the globe, save so far as concerns its fruits and its growths. 
These are its philosophy. I shall put forward so much, however, with regard 
to the sense-producing star as will enable us to know that man is divided in 
himself ; namely, into the body of the globe and the body of the senses, that 
is into a visible, palpable body and a body that is invisible and impalpable ; 
or, in other words, into an elementary body of the three primals, Salt, 
Sulphur, Mercury, and into a sidereal body. So far as relates to the body of 

Hermetic Astronomy. 285 

man, he is merely flesh and blood. That which is impalpable in him is called 
spirit. Thus man is made up of flesh, blood, and spirit. . Moreover, the flesh 
and blood are not the man, but the spirit existing in himself. The spirit of 
man is wisdom, sense, intellect ; and these are the man. The body is mere 
brute matter. The spirit is subjected to the stars, and the body is subjected 
to the spirit. So the star governs the man in his spirit, and the spirit governs 
the body in the flesh and blood. That spirit, however, is mortal, since it is 
not the soul. The soul is supernatural, and I do not speak of that here, but 
only of that which, being created in Adam, trenches on Nature, that is to say, 
flesh, blood, and this spirit. Whoever, therefore, is not reborn dies, and can- 
not sustain that spirit, but is carried off" to death. So, then, there is a certain 
conjunction of the star and the man, of the elements and the man. It is a 
single conjunction, and a single alliance, of such a nature that no partition or 
separation can occur. All which can happen is that the soul departs, and is 
separated, that it leaves what is produced by the machinery of the world, and 
takes to itself what is eternal. This I point out in order that the star may be 
rightly comprehended among the things that are above and in the globe of the 
world ; whilst, at the same time, it may be duly understood how each 
constituent part has been united in man. In this way the agreement and the 
operation of the star, one with another, will be understood, and we shall have 
ascertained what effect the external stars can have on man, and also what 
those things which are in man do in external things. For it is true that the 
external stars affect the man, and the internal stars in man affect outward 
things, in fact and in operation, the one on the other. For what Mars is able 
to effect in us, that also can the man effect in himself if he restrain himself in 
his manly operations. Thus are the double stars related one to the other. 
Man can affect heaven no less than heaven affects man. 

And now we have to discuss the medium between the principal stars and 
the body. There is one star which governs all things ; in man the animal 
intelligence, in brutes sensation, in the elements their operation. The star is 
the one supreme thing created from destruction or dissolution ; and it is that 
in Olympus which has all these things under itself. Its office is to operate in 
man, to operate in elements, to operate in animals, to turn and to change 
their senses and their mind. Now, it is impossible to do this without a 
medium. This same medium is and must be a star situated in those things 
where the supreme operates. By this medium is produced an effect on the 
substance and on the body. Let us illustrate the matter by an example. If 
Mars is to act on a man, that cannot be done without a medium, which shall 
serve as the material star. By means of this Mars acts. Thus, if the higher 
star is to act on a parrot, it is necessary that there should be in the parrot a 
star as a medium by which the superior star acts. Hence it is clear that there 
is some star in man, in birds, and in all animals ; and whatever these do, they 
do by the impulse of the higher influence which is received from the constella- 
tion, and regulates the unequal concordance, 

286 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Moreover, there is a similar star also in the elements, as in the earth, and 
that an efficacious one. That star receives an impression from the higher star, 
and then of itself acts on the earth, so that there is drawn forth from the earth 
whatever exists or lies hid in it. The same is the case with the element of 
water and the rest. So a person is first of all an astrologer from the higher 
star, and another from the star of men. There is an astrologer from the star 
of the elements, and there is an astrologer from the star of animals. In this 
way there are four astrologers of the elements, two of the stars of men and 
animals respectively, which make six ; and then one of the superior star, which 
is the seventh. Besides these there remains yet another astrology born of the 
imagination in man, superior to all the rest, and standing eighth in order. 

This, like the others, has been neglected and passed over by astrologers ; 
but whoever would be accounted an astrologer must have a perfect 
knowledge of all the eight. But, although those who are skilled in particular 
departments ought not to be despised, yet they cannot act universally. 
The star is divided into eight parts ; one is effective, six are subject to it ; the 
eighth is in itself effective and like the first, nay, in some respects it is superior 
to, and more excellent than, the first, as will hereafter be more clearly shewn, 
when we speak of the new heaven and firmament. But it is only right that 
the celestial astronomer should know also about the rest. Now, these inter- 
mediate stars act, follow one another, and agree, so that nothing shall be 
predicted from the higher star, with the accomplishment of which the lower 
star interferes and produces something else, be it better or worse. 

Hence, it is clear that astronomy was always highly valued by the ancients 
from the time of the Deluge up to the birth of Christ. 

All species of Astronomy, it is well known, were highly cultivated. In the 
time of Christ, however, this ceased ; and it is (? not) matter for regret that under 
Christ this should have occurred, because the Father had determined by His 
mighty love that men should confine their thoughts to Him, and that useless 
things should be omitted ; and yet many of these things originated and grew up 
under Christ and afterwards inundated the whole world. In order to under- 
stand this, I would have you know that Christ taught eternal wisdom, and 
took care for the soul, not without a purpose, but that the image of God might 
be promoted to the kingdom of its Creator, and so the lower wisdom might 
be neglected while the higher might be more actively cultivated. Although, 
therefore, in this book I write these things like a heathen man, I profess myself 
a Christian. The heathen, however, can rejoice in the Father who is not 
opposed to the Son ; and he is not really a heathen if he walks in the light of 
Nature. The wisdom of Christ is better than all the wisdom of Nature. 
I myself avow this, that one prophet in a single hour speaks more certainly 
and more truly than all the astrologers in many years, and one apostle far 
excels in truth all the magicians. 

What could resist the school of those who spoke with tongues of 
fire ? And yet, though these gifts were possessed, a certain sect ' rose 

Hermetic Astronomy. 287 

up in the time of Christ speciously boasting an eternal wisdom which they 
did not possess, though it grew and spread abroad. This sect cut itself 
off from the noble science of astronomy, and took its place much as dung 
might take the place of fruit. Hence it occurred that, in course of time, 
not only the foundation and light of eternal wisdom, but also the true 
astronomy itself was obliterated, and the entire light of Nature at length 
corrupted and obscured. This was a lamentable evil and sin. Woe to those 
who sin against the Holy Spirit as do these of whom I complain ! I confess 
that it is better to speak from God than from astronomy ; it is better to heal 
from God than by means of herbs ; better to preach from God than from false 
prophets, which is the sin against the Holy Ghost. What comes from God 
is not halt or maimed, but has, as they say, hands and feet. What comes 
from Nature is, for the most part, worm-eaten and decayed. All things are 
not from God ; but some are from Nature. All are not from Nature, but some 
from God. If the magi, the astronomers, the signators, the necromancers, the 
incerti, the diviners, should give up their science and follow the prophets, 
the apostles, and especially Christ Himself, who could impute it to them for a 
fault that they aspired to the greater from the less, from Nature to Christ ? 
Yet we cannot but lament that they did not penetrate to that school which 
spoke with the tongues of fire, though they had almost lost the light of Nature. 
Hence it happens that they thoroughly detest both kinds of wisdom. 

Concerning the stars, I lay it down that they it is which confer all animal 
intelligence. As the body is conferred by the globe, in the same way is the 
intellect conferred by the star. One cannot exist without the other. I am 
forced to admit that it repented the Father that He had made man, whom the 
Son regenerates. It is therefore wiser to be in communion with the Son than 
with the Father, though the light of the Father must not be abandoned. For 
the Father is not opposed to the Son, nor the Son to the Father. Woe to him 
who sins againt the Holy Spirit ! I acknowledge that man is dust ; for he 
was taken from the elements. What are the elements ? Nothing. What is 
man ? Nothing. Better is it then to follow, not that which is nothing, but 
that which is something. But when it comes to recognising the wondrouS 
works of God, it cannot be but that I shall feel a difficulty. For the gifts of 
God are given to the Prophets, are given to Apostles, and to Saints. But so 
also those gifts are bestowed on astronomers and on physicians. All are by 
God and from God. Whatever is pre-destined to Prophets and Apostles will 
succeed. May that too succeed which is pre-destined to astronomy and to 
medicine, but all by means of God and of His operations ! It is not everything 
that regards what is eternal or that regards even Nature ; everything looks to its 
own. What I have to say of man, of animal, of elementary body, or of wisdom 
from the stars, is strictly true ; and since man remains as he was formed at 
the beginning, I describe him as such, making in this place no mention of the 
new birth. Still, if the old birth and the new could not coexist, I would not 
describe the one or the other, but would vote all things vain. In the 

288 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

meantime, as to the accusation that I, being a Christian, treat a heathen topic, 
if the Father and the Son be agreed, and the one exist in the other, I would 
hope that this fact need cause no strife with any person ; and unless, indeed, 
opposition were raised by that sect which has darkened the light of Christ as 
well as the light of Nature, and so brought it about that between two stools 
one comes to the ground, any one would readily undertake to write on these 
matters. In the meantime, if the renovation of the world takes place, then 
will be brought to pass the saying that was uttered by the eternal Virgin, 
"He has filled the hungry with good things ; and the rich He has sent empty 



By Dr. Theophrastus Hohenheim. 

Concerning the Mass and the Matter out of which Man was Made. 

IT follows next in order to consider how it comes about that external 
causes are so powerful in man. 

It must be realised, first of all, that God created all things in heaven and 
on earth — day and night, all elements, and all animals. When all these were 
created, God then made man. And here, on the subject of creation, two 
remarks have to be made. First, all things were made of nothing, by a word 
only, save man alone. God made man out of something, that is to say, from a 
mass, which was a body, a substance — a something. What it was — this mass 
— we will briefly enquire. 

God took the body out of which He built up man from those things which 
He created from nothingness into something. That mass was the extract of 
all creatures in heaven and earth, just as if one should extract the soul or 
spirit, and should take that spirit or that body. For example, man consists 
of flesh and blood, and besides that of a soul, which is the man, much more 
subtle than the former. In this manner, from all creatures, all elements, all 
stars in heaven and earth, all properties, essences, and natures, that was 
extracted which was most subtle and most excellent in all, and this was united 
into one mass. From this mass man was afterwards made. Hence man is now 
a microcosm, or a little world, because he is an extract from all the stars and 
planets of the whole firmament, from the earth and the elements ; and so 
he is their quintessence. The four elements are the universal world, and from 
these man is constituted. In number, therefore, he is fifth, that is, the fifth or 
quint-essence, beyond the four elements out of which he has been extracted 
as a nucleus. But between the macrocosm and the microcosm this difference 
occurs, that the form, image, species, and substance of man are diverse there- 
from. In man the earth is flesh, the water is blood, fire is the heat thereof, 
and air is the balsam. These properties have not been changed, but only the 
substance of the body. So man is man, not a world, yet made from the world, 
made in the likeness, not of the world, but of God. Yet man comprises in 

290 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

himself all the qualities of the world. Whence the Scripture rightly says we are 
dust and ashes, and into ashes we shall return ; that is, although man, indeed, 
is made in the image of God, and has flesh and blood, and is not like the world, 
but more than the world, still, nevertheless, he is earth and dust and ashes. 
And he should lay this well to heart lest from his figure he should suffer 
himself to be led astray ; but he should think what he has been, what he now 
is, and what hereafter he shall be. 

Attend, therefore, to these examples. Since man is nothing else than 
what he was, and out of which he was made, let him not, even in imagination, 
be led astray. The knowledge of the fact tends to force upon him the 
confession that he is nothing but a mass drawn forth from the great universe. 
This being the case, he must know that he cannot be sustained and nourished 
therefrom. His body is from the world, and therefore must be fed and 
nourished by that world from which he has sprung. So it is that his food and 
his drink and all his aliment grow from the ground. The great universe 
contributes less to his food and nourishment. If man were not from the great 
world but from heaven, then he would take celestial bread from heaven along 
with the angels. He has been taken from the earth and from the elements, 
and therefore must be nourished by these. Without the great world he could 
not live, but would be dead, and so he is like the dust and ashes of the great 
world. It is settled, then, that man is sustained from the four elements, and 
that he takes from the earth his food, from the water his drink, from the fire 
his heat, and from the air his breath. But these all make for the sustentation 
of the body only, of the flesh and the blood. 

Now, man is not only flesh and blood, but there is within him the intellect 
which does not, like the complexion, come from the elements, but from the 
stars. And the condition of the stars is this, that all the wisdom, intelligence, 
industry of the animal, and all the arts peculiar to man are contained in them. 
From the stars man has these same things, and that is called the light of 
Nature ; in fact, it is whatever man has found by the light of Nature. Let us 
illustrate our position by an example. The body of man takes its food from 
the earth, to which food it is destined by its conception and natural agree- 
ment. This is the reason why one person likes one kind of food, and another 
likes another, each deriving his pleasure from the earth. Animals do the 
same, hunting out the food and drink for their bodies which has been 
implanted in the earth. Now as there is in man a special faculty for 
sustaining his body, that is, his flesh and blood, so is it with his intellect. He 
ought equally to sustain that with its own familiar food and drink, though not 
from the elements, since the senses are not corporal but are of the spirit as the 
stars are of the spirit. He then attracts by the spirit of his star, in whom that spirit 
is conceived and born. For the spirit in man is nourished just as much as the body. 
This special feature was engrafted on man at his creation, that although he shares 
the divine image, still he is not nourished by divine food, but by elemental. 
He is divided into two parts ; into an elemental body, that is, into flesh and 

Hermetic Astronomy. 29 r 

blood, whence that body must be nourished ; and into spirit, whence he is 
compelled to sustain his spirit from the spirit of the star. Man himself is dust 
and ashes of the earth. Such, then, is the condition of man, that, out of the 
great universe he needs both elements and stars, seeing that he himself is 
constituted in that way. 

And now we must speak of the conception of man, how he is begotten and 
made. The first man was made from the mass, extracted from the 
machinery of the whole universe. Then there was built up from him a woman, 
who corresponds to him in his likeness to the universe. For the future, there 
proceeds from the man and the woman the generation of all children, of all 
men. Moreover, the hand of God made the first man after God's own image 
in a wonderful manner, but still composed of flesh and blood, that he may 
be very man. Afterwards the first man and his wife were subjected to 
Nature, and so far separated from the hand of God that man was no longer 
built up miraculously by God's hand, but by Nature. The generation of man, 
therefore, has been entrusted to Nature and conferred on one mass from which 
he had proceeded. That mass in Nature is called semen. Most certain it is, 
however, that a man and woman only cannot beget a man, but along with 
those two, the elements also and the spirit of the stars. These four make up 
the man. The semen is not in the man, save in so far as it enters into him 
elementarily. When, in the act of conception, the elements do not operate, 
no body is begotten. Where the star does not operate, no spirit is produced. 
Whatever is produced without the elements and the spirit of the stars is a 
monster, a mola, an abortion contrary to Nature. As God took the mass and 
infused life into it, so must the composition perpetually proceed from those 
four and from God, in whose hand all things are placed. The body and the 
spirit must be there. These two constituents make up the man— the human 
being, that is, the man with the woman, and the semen, which comes from 
without, and is, as it were, an aliment, something which the man has not 
within himself, but attracts from without, just as though it were a potion. Such 
as the principle of food and drink isj such is also that of the sperm, which the 
elements from without contribute to the body as a mass. The star, by means of 
its spirit, confers the senses. The father and mother are the instruments of the 
externals by which these are perfected. In order to make this intelligible, 
I will adduce an example : In the earth nothing grows unless the higher stars 
contribute their powers. What are these powers ? They are such that one 
cannot exist without the other, but of necessity one must act in conjunction 
with the other. As those without are, such are those within, so far as man is 
concerned. Hence it is inferred that the first man was miraculously made, and 
so existed as the work of God. After that, man was subjugated to Nature, so 
that he should beget children in connection with her. Now, Nature means the 
external world in the elements and in the stars. Now it is evident from this 
that those elements have their prescribed course and mode of operation, just 

as the stars, too, have their daily course. They proceed in their daily agree- 


292 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

ment, and at particular epochs Nature puts forth new ones. Now, if this form 
of operation — if the father and mother — with this concordance meet together for 
the work of conception, then the foetus is allotted the Nature of those from 
whom it is born, namely, of the four parents — the father, the mother, the ele- 
ments, the stars. From the father and mother proceed a like image and essence 
of flesh and blood. Besides this, from their imagination, which is the human 
star, there is allotted the intellect, in proportion wherein the concordance and 
constellation have exhibited themselves. So, too, from the elements there is 
allotted the complexion and the quality of the nature. So, too, from the 
external stars their intelligence. As these meet, the influence which is stronger 
than the others, preponderates in the foetus, or else there is a mutual com- 
mingling of all. Thus man becomes a microcosm. The father and mother 
are made from the universe, and the universe is constantly contributing to the 
generation of man. In this way, there is constituted a single body, but a 
double nature, a single spirit, but a twofold sense. At length the body returns 
to its primal body, and the senses to the primal sense. They die, pass away, 
and depart, never to return. The ashes cannot again be made wood, neither 
can man from that state in which he is ashes be brought back so as to be man 

Now we have traced the generation of man to this point as a general and 
universal probation of the whole of astronomy, in order that it might be 
understood from thence why the astronomer studies and gets to know men by 
the stars, namely, because man is from the stars. As every son is known by 
his father, so is it here ; and this science is very useful if a man knows who is 
from heaven, from the elements, from father and mother. The knowledge of 
the father and mother lies at the root. The knowledge of the elements 
pertains to medicine. The knowledge of the stars is astrological. There are 
many reasons why these cognitions are useful and good. Many men are mere 
brutes, and yet make themselves out angels. Many speak from their mother, 
calling themselves Samuels or Maccabees. Many in their earthly complexion 
fast and pray, and call themselves divine. Many handle those things which 
are not really what they are said to be. Anyone who is an astrologer knows 
what that spirit is which speaks and is seen. It is matter for regret that 
many hesitate between the two lights, culling and stealing from each in order 
to make themselves conspicuous. The spirits are known, indeed, to each, but 
in a different way, and this should not be so. But though things are thus, 
man is the work of God, but one only is His very son, that is, Adam. Others 
are sons of Nature, as Luke in his genealogy recounts of Joseph, that he was 
the Son of Helus, which Helus was the son of Mathat, which Mathat was the 
son of Levi, and so on back to Adam ; yet there is no mention of the son of 
God. Thus man is a son in Nature, and does not desert his race, but follows 
the nature of his parents, the stars. Now, he who knows the father and 
mother of the stars and of the elements, and also the father and mother 
of the flesh and blood, he is in a position to discuss concerning that offspring, 

Hermetic Astronomy. 293 

concerning its nature, essence, properties, in a word, concerning its whole 
condition. And as a physician compounds all simples into one, preparing a 
single remedy out of all, which cannot be made up without these numerous 
ingredients, so God performs His much more notable miracle by concocting 
man into one compound of all the elements and stars, so that man becomes 
heaven, firmament, elements, in a word, the nature of the whole universe, 
shut up and concealed in a slender body. And though God could have made 
man out of nothing by His one word " Fiat," He was pleased rather to build 
man up in Nature and to subject him to Nature as its son, but still so that He 
also subjected Nature to man, though still Nature was man's father. Hence 
it results that the astronomer knows man's conception by man's parentage. 
This is the reason why man can be healed by Nature through the agency of a 
physician, just as a father helps a son who has fallen into a pit. In this way 
Nature is subjected to man as to its own flesh and blood, its own son, its own 
fruit produced from itself; in the body of the elements wherein diseases exist ; 
in the body of the spirit, where flourish the intelligence and reason ; and the 
elements, indeed, by means of medicine, but the stars by their own knowledge 
and wisdom. Now, this wisdom in the sight of God is nothing ; but the 
Divine wisdom is preeminent above all.''' So the names of wisdom differ. 
That wisdom which comes from Nature is called animal, because it is mortal. 
That which comes from God is named eternal, because it is free from 
mortality. These two parts, therefore, seemed to me necessary to be treated 
before I commented upon astronomy itself, so that from these universal proofs 
the whole foundation might be the more easily gathered. 

The following are the numbers, religions, and faculties of the whole of 
astrology, which are treated naturally and artificially. Neither more nor fewer 
than these exist essentially and spiritually. Their names and differences are 
as follows: — i.. Astrology; ii., Magic; iii.. Divination; iv., Nigromancy; v., 

* In an exceedingly abstruse treatise on The Foundation of Wisdom and the Sciences, Paracelsus thus delivers 
himself upon the subject of sapience and knowledge: Whosoever undertakes a treatise on the foundation of wisdom, the 
same before all things should admonish or teach the reader concerning the origin of the sciences and of sapience. So 
also the physician who has decided to write concerning diseases must first explain from what foundation he writes, and 
the author whom he follows, as also how he teaches, in order that the same may be proved in the case of diseases. For 
out of these the probity and truth of his doctrine and science can be judged: Similarly, we who are about to treat of 
the foundation of the sciences and the arts must necessarily teach their origin, whence they have proceeded, and 
whence they are to be learned. Having done this, we must proceed to explain the matter itself. This book treats not 
of corporal matters, but of things invisible, that is, of reason itself. Hereof I have been impelled to write, seeing that 
many persons before me have supposed many kinds of wisdom, whereas, so far as regards man, there is only one 
wisdom ; for how can one carpenter differ from another carpenter when both construct the same house, both use the 
same axe, and both have one method of building ? There is one compass. Concerning this, it must be stated in a 
treatise on science that two compasses are not to be used, for the compass is one and not two. In the same fashion, the 
carpenter, the quarryman, and the bricklayer can use no compass diflferent from this. Thus the house of wisdom 
neither can nor ought to be established except upon one foundation. And as the builder's art is defined by one circle, 
one number, one line, one square, so also through all methods there is one wisdom ; and as the distribution takes place 
from one circle into a triangle, quadrangle, etc., which, however, are all one circle, the same is to be understood con- 
cerning the distribution of sapience. So also, as heaven, earth, air, and water use one and the same line, thus 
according to one line all wisdom is educed and extended. And as all men and all things are numbered by one number, 
so there is one number of wisdom itself, nor is any other beyond it to be taken. But inasmuch as a line is drawn by a 
free hand, yet by no means a correct one, or a circle, also by no means accurate, is described by hand, etc., so also 
lines, circles, and other figures proceed from sapience, but are by no means correct. For such sapience is by no means 
a true circle, quadrangle, or line. Hence I have determined to treat shortly of the foundation of science and wisdom, 
whence they proceed, what they are, and who bestows or imparts them. Artificers are greatly in need of the knowledge 

294 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Signature; vi., Uncertain Arts ; vii., Manual Arts. What will be handled in 
each religion, and what the religion itself is, seek in the sequel. 

Astrology. — This science teaches and treats concerning the whole firma- 
ment, how it stands with the earth and with man according to the primaeval 
order, and what is the connection between man, the earth, and the stars. 

Magic. — This science brings down and compels heaven from above to 
stones, herbs, words, etc. It teaches also the change of one thing into 
another, as well as the knowledge of the supernatural stars, comets, etc., and 
what their signification is. 

Divination. — This science is from heaven to man without any formal 
institution, so that he knows how to speak of things future, present, and past, 
though he has never looked into those things himself, and speaks nothing save 
what heaven impresses upon him. This science is most of all seen among 
simple persons. 

NiGROMANCY. — This treats of sidereal bodies, which are without actual 
body, flesh, and blood. This operation stands related to the necromancer as 
a servant to his master, the latter commanding the former. 

Signature. —This science teaches one to know the stars, what the heaven 
of each may be, how the heaven has produced man at his conception, and in 
the same way constellated him. 

Uncertain Arts. — These sciences are without any principles on which they 
rest, or from which they proceed, and are ruled by the imagination, offering a 
new spirit and a new firmament by which they work. 

Manual Art. — This science teaches the preparation of instruments for 
all astronomy, and with slender material expresses or comprises the form of 
the stars, and brings heaven and earth into one figure. 

For the sake of fuller understanding I will add how many species each 
religion has, in this way: — 

of such foundation, for what else is sapience but an art or science which one man has derived from another. He who by 
counsel flourishes in prudence, what has such a man learned except the art of provident wisdom, which another man 
does not know? Thus, the artificer has a skill in regulating the fire in which the tailor is completely wanting. This, 
therefore, is his art. Hence in different persons there are different arts. What, therefore, is science save art ? It 
becomes this art to proceed out of a circle, out of a line, out of a number, for this gives a mode, and thusamode obtains 
in arts. From his individual art the turner derives his special mode, and this also is true — the line, the circle, etc, 
give a mode of wisdom, and the said mode is wisdom itself. Further, sciences are distributed after many methods, nor 
could they all consist in one. One man knows one thing, and one another. No person can know and accomplish 
ever>'thing. Who is familiar with, who performs all things ? And as no one perfects two labours in one labour, but it is 
necessary that one thing only should be performed at one time, so the case is the same with the arts and sciences. For 
the sciences are so extensive and so profound that they cannot be contained and held by one brain. One part is given 
to one, a second to another, etc. For as in one street of a city there are many gold beaters, in another many shoe- 
makers, and in a third many tailors, so there is an analogous distribution of the sciences. Now, all undertakings 
proceed from one fount ; from one fount flow all works and all sciences. Their ramifications are distributed like fruit 
on a tree, none of which can so separate itself as to deny that it was produced with the others from the same tree. If a 
guide and teacher be needed in this kind of wisdom, so that the source of a writer's instruction may be known, it becomes 
right and just that I should divide this discourse into two parts. The sapience of man is twofold — one relating to the 
soul, the other to the body. Having made this distinction, it is necessary that we should understand the animal, that 
is, the corporeal, and also, so to speak, the mental, that is, the eternal. But as we have elsewhere described the origin 
of the animal man, so here we shall chiefly concern ourselves with the man which is spiritual, and here is explained the 
invisible source of science and wisdom.— The rest of the work, which contains several treatises, and is at the same time 
only of a fragmentary nature, attributes, as might be expected, all wisdom to God, for man has nothing of himself. 
Man, however, is the heir of heaven, and the world exists solely for his benefit. It further divides wisdom into the and the angelical, and affirms that men themselves are angels, and are before all heaven and all angels. 

Hermetic Astronomy. 295 

Astrology has three species, as referring to man, the inferior bodies, 

Magic has six species. It belongs to comets, images, gamahei, charac- 
ters, spectres, incantations. 

Divination has five species, dreams, brutes, the mind, speculation, 

Nigromancy, of which there are three species, material visions or spectres, 
astral spirits, and inanimate, phantastical bodies, that is, those assumed by 
the dead or by lifeless things. 

Signature has three species, chiromancy, physiognomy, and proportion. 

Uncertain Arts, of which there are four species, geomancy, pyromancy, 
hydromancy, ventinina. 

Manual Art has five species, arithmetic, geometry, cosmography, instrument, 
sphere (a mathematical instrument). 

The Interpretation of the Species according to each religion. 

Astrology— The First Religion. 
This science embraces three species in which it is occupied. It operates 
against man, against elements, against animals. For since heaven and the 
lower bodies are mutually connected, the heaven teaches us to know the lower 
bodies by means of a figure which represents the whole heaven. From this 
figure is inferred the property of the inferior bodies, and what effect heaven 
produces in those inferior bodies. 


Of Comets. This species teaches us to recognise all these supernatural 
signs in the sky, and to understand what they signify. Of this class are 
comets, halos, and the other figures of the sky. This science is founded on the 
Apocalypse, on dreams, and on the saying of Christ, "There shall be signs in 
the sun, moon, and stars.'' Since all these signs are supernatural, they refer 
not to astrology, but to magic. 

Of Images. This science represents the properties of heaven and 
impresses them on images, so that an image of great efficacy is compounded, 
moving itself and significant. Images of this kind cure exceptional diseases, 
and avert many remarkable accidents, such as wounds caused by cutting or 
by puncturing. A like virtue is not found in any herbs. 

Of Gamahei. These are stones graven according to the face of heaven. 
Thus prepared they are useful against wounds, poisons, and incantations. 
They render persons invisible, and display other qualities which, without this 
science. Nature of herself cannot exhibit. 

Of Characters. These species are words which are either spoken or 
written. They have power against all diseases, which they also avert. They 
divert misfortune and all accidents, they set free prisoners so that they are 
loosed from their chains, and produce those effects which Nature itself is not 
able to bring about, but only magical science can accomplish. 

296 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Of Spectres. This species exhibits the likenesses of men, so that 
something appears which is not really present. These visions with their signs 
are produced by night, not by day, and lack the body, blood, flesh, soul, and 
spirit of man. 

Of Incantations. This species teaches how to turn men into dogs, cats, 
etc. It teaches a man how to convert himself into all kinds of appearances 
and forms. It renders people invisible, changes the minds of men at the will 
of the artificer, impels, leads, and directs impressions and generations 
according to his pleasure. 


Dreams. If anything is presented to a person by means of a dream, be 
it present, future, or past, be it knowledge, a treasure, or any other secret, it 
bears reference to this art. It can direct the stars to a dream, so that 
anything may be thereby revealed. 

Brutes. This species teaches us to distinguish the prophecies which come 
from animals, so that man may see and understand what the heaven does or 
is about to do. It operates also in fools, in animals, and in other simple 

The Soul. This species refers only to the mind of man, so that by chance 
and not by premeditation it is suggested to the mind of man what he ought to do. 
This species is of great importance, and should be studied among the very first by 
man, so that he may know what the mind suggests to him from its true 

Speculation. If any one carefully weighs and speculates, and, by means 
of a strong imagination, finds what he seeks, it ought to be referred to this 
species. It arises from the stars, which are occupied about man and teach him. 

Phantasy.- If any one in mere sport finds out or learns anything, this 
also is from the star, when it is matured. This often reveals many things 
such as treasures, mines, and others which are hidden, operating without any 
previous knowledge or investigation, and benefiting him who does not seek it. 


Visions. This species sees in crystals, mirrors, polished surfaces, and the 
like, things that are hidden, secret, present or future, which are present just as 
though they appeared in bodily presence. 

Astral Spirits. This species teaches how to deal with sidereal spirits 
separated from the body, so that they may be compelled to serve men like slaves. 

Inanimates are men without a soul produced by the stars, dwelling and 
conversing with men and doing the same as they. 

Chiromancy, by which the star is exhibited in man with that appearance in 
which the heaven was at the time of his nativity. It appears in the hands, 
feet, and other lines and veins of the body, shewing themselves diflFerently in 
different bodies. 

Hermetic Astronomy, 297 

Physiognomy. This species teaches how to know a man by his counten- 
ance, manners, and gestures. This also has for its cause the hour of birth, 
which signs a man, and by those signs forms his nature. 

Proportion. This species judges the properties from the general habit 
of a man, whether he be lame, too tall, too short, etc. 

Uncertain Arts. 

Geomancy. This science is practised with a free mind without foundation 
or certain knowledge or signs (tesserae). It agrees with astrology. 

Pyromancy. This species is fortune telling by fire. By fire is seen what 
is the motion of the heaven, what its nature and condition. In this the moon 
is principally consulted. 

Hydromancy. This species teaches how to see in water certain secret 
and hidden things, closed and sealed letters, and persons who are travelling in 
distant countries, whether they are living or dead. This operation proceeds 
from the constellation of the new firmament, by means of imagination. 

Ventinina. This teaches how to determine from the wind what the 
future state of the heaven will be as regards man, whether good or bad, 
fruitful or sterile, and other similar things in the future which cannot be 
determined by Nature. 

Manual Art. 

Arithmetic. This species teaches how to find the number of heaven and 
earth in the stars and the like. 

Geometry teaches how to measure the height of heaven and earth, and 
of the things contained in them. 

Cosmography teaches the situation and distance of all things, the manners 
and nature of peoples. 

Instrumentation. This species teaches how to make instruments, with 
which is known how heaven and earth are connected. 

Sphere. This species teaches how to learn by means of an instrument 
what is the knowledge and correspondence of heaven and earth. 

With this brief discourse I have endeavoured to describe the different 
species of religions that astronomy itself may thus be more rightly understood. 
Ail these make up astronomy. But how each one may be proved is afterwards 
described, with this view, that it may be clear that astronom)' is no incon- 
sistent or mendacious science, but that it is based on a solid foundation drawn 
from the light of Nature itself; which, indeed, is necessary for establishing all 
truth and knowledge. 

Proof in Astrological Science.* 

Having treated of the generation of man we must now deal with his 
sustenance, and in this way astrology will be sufficiently proved. There is a 
certain congenital virtue in man which attracts into man from the external 

* The proofs in astrological science, magic, and divination are wanting in the treatise, and the deficiency has been 
supplied from another work, the iLxplicatio tothis Asii-onoiiiicp., which duplicates the Hermetic Astronomy i^hiicr* 
pretatio alia Asiroiwmue). It has been thought advisable at this point to compress somewhat the prolixity which 
further obscures the original. 

29S The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

sphere. Now, from that which is attracted man is sustained, and he is well 
and ill according to that which he has attracted. The attractive virtue is 
twofold, one of the elementary body, the other of the sidereal body. The 
desire of man for sustentation is to be understood as follows : The rays of 
the external sphere penetrate to us ; the internal economy of man accom- 
plishes the rest. Thus the sphere extends its fruits from the radix even to 
the outward locust. Hence it follows that there is a certain nature, namely, 
hunger and thirst, which is implanted in us and compels us to eat those fruits. 
So do the rays of this sphere enter us. Now, even as the food of the 
physical body comes to us from the elements, so is the sidereal body supplied 
by the constellation with all science, all arts, all prudence. Man is formed in 
such a manner that he should derive all his knowledge in the same way as he 
gathers fruit from a tree. Thus originates music, the metallic art, medicine, 
agriculture : whatsoever the earthly body requires, that he finds in the wisdom 
of the stars, and all wisdom, whether good or bad, is derived to him from the 
stars. Two things only, namely, justice and holy scripture, proceed im- 
mediately from the Holy Spirit. In the stars then is the whole light of Nature 
founded. For as man seeks food from the earth in which he was born, so 
also does he seek it from the stars in which he is likewise born. Thus the 
wisdom to which he is born is twofold — one is animal — but of the other 
Christ said, " For this I was born," as if He had affirmed " I was born in the 
Eternal Wisdom." The wisdom of earth should be employed only over 
carnal matters ; the other and higher wisdom should be learnt and employed 
according to the words of Christ. 

Now, the sidereal wisdom is foolishness before God, whence comes that 
saying : The wise man rules the stars, in the sense that eternal wisdom 
governs the animal. Thus natural wisdom is given to the body and not to 
the soul. Those things, therefore, which concern the soul are by no means 
to be polluted by the light of Nature. This must only be used with Nature. 
By the light of Nature all arts and operations have been invented. In the 
mansions of the planets there are workmen who have taught all other 
workmen, and they, indeed, are the best of all, for they have their arts 
implanted from birth. These, were they men, would everywhere forge iron 
and handle it as if it were wax. Mortals as yet have not learnt this arcanum, 
but they would do so did they drink from the true fountain. So also masons 
dwell in the habitations of the planets, from whom all other masons learn, 
and if they did this fully all matter would be plastic in their hands. Thus the 
firmament formed by God is our perfect instructor in all the arts if we refer 
to their true source. Thus, too, the palmary physician is in the firmament, 
who is acquainted with all diseases, and even sees those things which are 
hidden from our eyes. God created him such that he might beget physicians 
on earth. Now, concerning evil sources, there are unskilled artificers in 
heaven even as on earth. This ignorance and clumsiness may be discerned 
even by the animal wisdom, which is given for this end, that the good and 

Hermetic Astronomy. igg 

not the bad may be chosen. So does the natural light lead up to the higher 
light. Further, Lucifer in heaven made himself other than he was created, 
together with his companions, and the same thing can also take place in the 
stars. Hence contrary conceptions may arise, adverse and perverse arts. We 
must not, therefore, believe every spirit, since of spirits there are two kinds, 
even as there are two kinds of angelic intelligences— those who remained as 
they were and those who fell from their first estate. Astronomy is important, 
in that it teaches us to discern between these two kinds of spirits. This same 
science also contains a great arcanum, nor can anything be learnt without it. 
Wisdom is eternal and natural. The eternal is immutable and constant ; the 
natural, from its mutable conception, generates a false spirit which misin- 
terprets scripture. But if astronomy is acquainted with this, and if, indeed, 
nothing is so hidden as not to be revealed thereby, who shall not extol it 
with the highest praises ? 

It has already been shewn after what manner man was made, how he 
possesses hunger and thirst, an elementary and sidereal body, to produce an 
appetite for nourishment, and finally that he tends to that which was 
implanted in him at conception. Hence it follows that such virtue, nature, 
property, and condition, and finally all the concordance and constellation, can 
be described by the astronomer, for in this way various nativities are constituted, 
and hidden things are prognosticated. In all who live according to Nature 
nothing is hidden from the astrologer, and thus for the generation of man a 
figure of heaven is erected, in order to know the properties of the stars, as 
also the particular mode. Understand, therefore, concerning astrology that it 
knows the whole nature, wisdom, and science of the stars, according as they 
perfect their own operation in conception and constitute an animal man. The 
astrologer can easily describe a man or an animal by reason of such a 
conjunction and concordance. But if astrology be fundamentally and properly 
known, and the nativities of infants be erected rightly according to the mode 
of the influence,- may evils will be avoided which would otherwise be occasioned 
by the unpropitious constellations. 

Proof in the Science of Magic. 

In the first place let us define the nature of Magic. It is that which 
brings celestial virtue into the medium, and thence is able to perfect its own 
operation. The medium is the centre. The centre is man. By means of 
man, therefore, the celestial force can be transmitted into man so that in man 
may be found such an operation as the constellation itself can produce. 
Moreover, in magic there is a further operation which it performs itself while 
exercising its art, that is to say, while the nature itself of the constellation 
does that which the magus ought to do. If the magus' be himself the medium 
and centre, and, what is more, be capable of performing the operation of the 
constellation for man by means of man, it is in addition given to this art to 
produce another medium which is to be understood as a subject, by which 

300 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

subject that operation is just as well performed as by man, who is the true 
medium. Thus in magical science there exist two operations, one which 
Nature herself produces, selecting man as the instrument, and as the recipient 
of her influence, whether bad or good, the other operates by means of arbitrary 
instruments, such as statues, stones, herbs, words, also comets, similitudes, 
halos, and any other supernatural generation of the constellation. Thus 
Nature herself is able to prepare her magical powers and perform her own 
operations by their means, as, for example, when something extraordinary 
takes place amidst a rude populace and is referred to miraculous agency, 
whereas it is only Nature who has worked magically. 

Whatsoever Nature is able to accomplish in a foreign body, the same 
also can man accomplish, if he direct his operation so that conception can 
be attained, namely, the image, having neither flesh nor blood, and being like 
to the comet, so that the words and characters possess their own virtues 
equally with medicaments. It is, in like manner, possible to bring about 
such a condition in herbs and gamahei, that they become like to the planets 
and the dwellers therein. Now, it is no matter for astonishment that man 
accomplishes such things, for if it be true, as the scripture says, that ye are 
gods, we shall certainly be superior to the stars. If the stars as a fact are 
found to govern the majority of men, that is because men have abdicated 
their power as gods ; few, indeed, are those who have exercised gifts such as 
those of the apostles and saints. The difference between the saint and the 
magus is this, that one operates by means of God and the other by means of 
Nature. Magic is a sublime science, and by reason of its operations is very 
hard of attainment. We must have regard to the word of Christ, which 
passes not away, when He said; "If ye believe, ye shall accomplish more 
things than these." Now, if we can exceed that which is accomplished by 
Christ, we can also exceed that which Nature accomplishes, seeing that she 
was created on our account and is therefore in our power. The wise man 
rules Nature, not Nature the wise man. For the same reason we can accom- 
plish more than the stars. In us, then, should abound so great a wisdom that 
we shall thereby control all things, not only firmamental virtues, but also 
living animals which yet are much stronger than man. The will of man 
extends over the depth of the sea and the height of the firmament. 

Nature herself is a magus. If about to announce anything, she creates 
for herself messengers, such as comets and other celestial signs. The magus 
man is comparable to the physician. The physician knows the hidden virtues 
of herbs, but the magus the hidden potencies of the stars. The physician 
extracts the virtues of herbs, and produces a remedy which is small in weight 
but represents the powers contained in a whole field of vegetation. The 
magus can transfer the powers of a whole celestial field into a small stone, 
which is called the gamaheus. As the physician infuses herbal virtues into the 
sick man, and so heals his disease, so the magus infuses into man the 
heavenly virtues just as he has extracted them. Medicines are renewed 

Hermetic Astronomy. 301 

yearly, but the stars have their exaltations in place of a summer. The sun is 
the highest grade of diurnal light, plus the congenital heat which belongs to 
it. How shall this light and heat be brought downward by means of man 
into a subject, so that its light will be intolerable to the eyes and sense shall 
scarcely be able to endure its heat ? This takes place in the sphere of the 
crystal, which then is termed Beryl. 

If the Magus can draw down virtues from heaven and infuse them into a 
subject, why should we be unable to make images conducive to health or 
disease ? If poison, and the rest, can arise from earth, it can issue also from 
heaven. But why should not similar things take place in the case above, 
whether the subject be images, herbs, stones, or woods ? The birth corre- 
sponds to what is sown in the constellation, and it is not man alone who 
operates such things ; Nature also variously exercises herself. But if it be 
possible to Nature, why not also to map ? Let Nature be an example to us. 
As she works we must follow in imitation. Herein lie hidden medical science, 
all artifices, all arts, all animal industries. It frequently happens that Nature 
advances some person beyond the knowledge he can derive from man, who 
also by skill and industry surpasses all the rest. Such a man is born like the 
comet, which differs from other stars. Thus it becomes possible that the 
Magus also, by means of magic science, may produce such an industrious 
man like a comet. These are the mysteries and the great things of God. The 
firmament, by means of the magi, exhibits the glory of God. By means of 
the magi out of Satra and Tharsis, by the ascendant of Christ in Bethlehem, 
is made manifest whatsoever the firmament and heaven do reveal in the 
Arcana of God. ^^ 

Proof in the Science of Divination. 

Astronomy creates herself, and from herself performs astronomical 
operations which do not require art and industry. This mostly takes place 
among those who are of a good and honest disposition, as also temperate. 
The ancients preserved both their bodies and souls from pollution, so that 
they might more successfully perform operations of this kind in themselves. 
This is divination. When men, having no knowledge of astronomy, perform 
such operations, they are considered miraculous, and the operators are 
regarded as gods. The operation is revealed by dreams, by the soul, by 
speculation, and by animals. Divination was of much importance among the 
ancients. It is a part of astronomy, but it is not a science, for the operation 
occurs spontaneously. It is often said in common parlance : " My angel told 
me this." Here the operation is called an angel, as if it took place by God ; 
it is ascribed to the angel, as if to a medium between God and the man. At 
the same time, the whole operation is merely celestial. Now this is the origin 
of divination. Man possesses a sidereal body united with an external con- 
stellation. These two communicate when the sidereal body is not affected by 
the elementary. In sleep, when the elementary body is quiescent, the sidereal 
body performs its functions. Hence arise insomnia, according as the 

302 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

constellation operates them, and as the constellations are badly or well dis- 
posed, so also are the insomnia. When the constellation and the sidereal body 
are favourably co-ordinated, future things are truly predicted. In this 
manner, also, many remedies have been discovered which prevail over 
different diseases, also hidden treasures and other concealed things, so that 
scarcely anything can be compared to this very great science. The firmament 
foreknows all future things, nor does anything escape its knowledge, whether 
of things past or things present. If a sidereal body of this kind be found 
suitable by the constellations, and if the constellations be prepared, many 
marvels are manifested, both present and past. In this manner old men and 
women, unendowed by any knowledge, as it were by their simplicity and 
fatuity, have often made prophecies which the event marvellously verified. 

In the same way, also, many have become learned men, who, having 
attained a suitable sidereal body, have sedulousl}' exercised themselves in their 
native influence. Hence it happens that they at last draw down upon them- 
selves the influence of their native constellation, just as rays from the sun. 
So an admirable science, doctrine, and wisdom are discovered, yet is the 
whole animal alone, not from on high, but taken from the stars alone. 
Heaven being thus constituted, and producing for itself a sidereal body, there 
arise many great minds, many writers, doctors, interpreters of Scriptures, 
and philosophers, according as each is formed from its constellation. Their 
writings and doctrines are not to be considered sacred, although they have a 
certain singular authority, given by the constellation and influence, by the 
spirits of Nature, not of God. Operations of this kind sometimes proceed 
from the mind of man in a stupendous manner, when men, changing their 
heart and soul, would make themselves like to the saints, being made such by 
a drunken star ; whereas wine changes man, so also these are changed. It 
is, therefore, worth while to understand this sort of astronomy. Intoxicated 
writers of this kind lead many astray ; they are wanderers in the Spirit of 
God as well as in the Light of Nature, flitting about like dreams. Many 
things are done by these which yet are of no moment, nor can be understood 
by others. 

The force and efficacy of the constellations impresses itself upon brute 
animals, for whatsoever lives contains in itself the sidereal spirit and 
wherever the operations are, there they are manifested. So the clamour of 
peacocks presages the death of their owners. For no man dies without the 
previous indication of portents. When a man is about to die the constellation 
within him loses its operation, and this loss takes place by means of a sign or 
a great mutation. So the stars shuddered at the death of Christ. From 
motions taking place in Nature, the death of every man can be prognosticated. 
Knockings in houses will sometimes precede the death of some occupant yet 
these are not the work of spectres, but are natural operations, which in this 
manner are accomplished in men by means of the stars. The stars singularly 
sympathise with man, for man has been so formed by God that the whole 

Hermetic Astronomy. 303 

firmament is consensitive with man, and out of compassion gives its presages 
to his grief. 

Proofs in Nigromancy. 

Regard, in due order, nigromancy, so that it may be possible to learn and 
judge sidereal spirits and those who have no soul. The judgment is directed 
to that whereof we proceed to speak. The man who buries a treasure in the 
earth and hides it has all his mind intent upon that treasure. If he dies, his 
elementated body is buried, his sidereal body withdraws from it, and walks about 
on the earth up to the time when its decay is complete. This body carries 
about with it the thoughts and the heart of the dead man. Hence, as may be 
inferred, it keeps itself in the neighbourhood of that place where the treasure 
has been buried, about which the heart of the dead man was anxious. Such 
sidereal spirits are constantly seen at or near the place where such treasure is. 
The same thing occurs in other matters about which anybody has been anxious 
with the whole desire of his heart, whether it has been food, or drink, or de- 
bauchery, gambling, or hunting. In all these things the spirit acts for the 
imagination of that heart, and it does the same thing in a shadowy way after 
death, until the star consumes that spirit also, as the elements have consumed 
the body. Hence it follows that the necromancers get to know these sidereal 
spiritis and to ascertain for what reason they are walking about in one place or 
another. In the same way, they explain the nature of lemures, giants, and 
gnomes. Nigromancy is the philosophy of spiritual sidereal bodies, and of 
inanimate beings who are, nevertheless, human, as onagri, nymphs, lemures, 
etc. The man who busies himself about these is a necromancer. The same is 
the case with exorcists who adjure bodies and inanimate beings of this kind. 
They differ from necromancers in this respect, that the exorcists are occupied 
with bodies obsessed by the devil, while the necromancers find their occupa- 
tion, both naturally and philosophically, with those who are not obsessed. 
The ignorance of men has confounded exorcism with necromancy, and taken 
them to be one and the same. However, their distinction has now been 
settled. Moreover, I have determined to say nothing about exorcists here ; it 
will be better to relegate them to the devil, whose servants they are. But I 
would wish to commend necromancy to you as a remarkable natural science, 
which produces some marvellous effects, since by means of sidereal spirits are 
laid bare the very hearts of men, shewing how they are inclined, what they long 
for, and what their ambitions are. 

It is, moreover, pleasant and delightful to rightly understand nigromancy. 
The knowledge of nymphs, also the discovery of lemures, gnomes, and giants, 
is very subtle and ingenious. Indeed, the philosophy of these four inanimate 
generations is a truly noble one, which many babblers oppose and prefer their 
own nonsense to it. Since God is wonderful in all His works, it is more than 
likely that, one of these days, the temerity of these people will be brought out 
into the light of day, and, in God's own good time, branded openly. More- 
over, necromancers use beryls because, in respect of astral spirits, they have 

304 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

some familiarity witli magicians in the way of visions, but the magi do not 
admit these. The causes of this fact will be noticed in these treatises. In the 
present discourse it has been made sufficiently clear what nigromancy is, and 
what is its subject-matter. 

Proof in the Science of Signature. 

God has enriched the light of Nature with such ample gifts that even one 
who is not addicted to the light can know all things that are therein. Is not 
this a great thing which external signs offer to man's knowledge ? And God 
has arranged it so. Possibly you wonder how this can be done. Let the 
following example put an end to your wonder. The carpenter is the seed of 
his house. Whatever he is, such will be his house. It is his imagination 
which makes the house, and his hand which perfects it. The house is like the 
imagination. Now, if such be the property of imagination that it makes a 
house, Nature also will be an imagination making a son, and making him 
according to its imagination. So the form and the essence are one thing. 

Whatever anything is useful for, to that it is assumed and adapted. So if 
Nature makes a man, it adapts him to its design. And here our foundation is 
laid. For everything that is duly signed its own place should properly be 
left ; for Nature adapts everything to its duty. 

If any lord or prince builds a city he so builds and arranges all the walls, 
towers, citadels, and the rest, that they shall as closely as possible suit his 
design. If man does this, how much more shall Nature, which is higher than 
man ? It makes one man lame, because it is going to use such an one for 
lame purposes. It makes another blind, he being destined for blind purposes. 
In one word, whatever it requires any one to be, such an one it produces. 

This, then, being the custom of Nature, that it produces such a man as it 
wishes, those vestiges will be clear and plain in the man. By these vestiges is 
meant whatever Nature is going to use such a man for. 

Since Nature, therefore, works thus openly and puts forth its work in 
public, it is right and convenient that some one should be met who sees what 
sort of a person Nature has in each case prepared and produced, that is, how it 
opposes a rascal to an honest man, and sets a man-wolf over against a shepherd. 

A signature, then, is that which has to do with the signs to be taken into 
consideration, whereby one may know another — what there is in him. There 
is nothing hidden which Nature has not revealed and put plainly forward. 

Rightly, therefore, should its proper place be given to signature, because 
it is a part of astronomy, for this reason, that the star builds the man up at 
its own pleasure, with the marks belonging to him. What is going to be 
tinged with black Nature makes black, what blue, it makes blue ; that which 
is going to sting is made a nettle, and what is to purge is made an equisetum, 
what is to be used for smoothing and polishing is made a smiris. In fine, to 
everything is assigned its own form, by which it may be known for what 
purpose that thing is made by Nature, 

Hermetic Astronomy. 305 

Whatever is in anything according to its properties, quality, form, 
appearance, etc., is revealed in herbs, seeds, stones, roots, and the rest. All 
things are known by their signature. By the signature those who are 
instructed trace what lies hid in herbs, seeds, stones. But when the signature 
is obliterated and trifles are substituted for it, then it is all over with every- 
thing, even philosophy and medicine being at fault. 

The cry goes everywhere that I burn with hatred of learned men, doctors, 
magistrates, bachelors, senators, consuls, and the like. What is the reason ? 
Nature has signed them too clearly. I can see what they are made of ; and I 
hate every house that lets in the rain. 

In like manner, I am accused of disliking physicians and surgeons. Why ? 
Just because they are not signed for their profession, but as rogues and 
impostors. The same is true of others also. I know plenty of them, if it 
were only safe to speak out. 

How can I favour a man who is branded with so many stigmata and 
disgraceful marks as the Consul of Astorza, Niger, and of Nuremberg, 
MufFel ? And how many others are there like them ? Of course they detest 
this art, because it too clearly betrays bad men. 

Proof in Uncertain Arts. 

Nature puts forward a way and clear order in which man should consider 
what belongs to Nature and its properties. Thus astrology teaches us to 
know the nature of the sun by the accustomed order of the stars. So what 
the moon is and what her nature, the astrologer learns from her course, 
which he sees to be regular. The same judgment is to be passed on the other 
stars. In like manner, philosophy is learnt from that which appears, how 
Nature stands related to the earth ; hence it is ascertained that the method of 
philosophy ought to be the same. Thus all things have their own proof and 
comprehension. And so all arts, such as medicine and the rest, are conceived 
in a natural order. Without this order nothing can be done or brought to a 
perfect end. 

Moreover, the uncertain arts, of which four are shewn in the table, have 

not this order and process, which can be materially proved and demonstrated ; 

but this differs from the order spoken of. With regard to this it ought to be 

understood that there are many things which do not indeed square with the 

same order, but still are not opposed to Nature. They only diff'er from the 

order of material nature, as God has settled it. But what there is besides in 

this order ought to be understood from the Uncertain Arts in the following 

manner. The firmament and new heaven are constituted by the imagination ; 

and it should be known that this imagination is effective, and produces many 

things, being marvellous in its operations. It often happens that the 

imagination of the parents, father and mother, confers on the offspring born 

in that creation a different heaven, another figure, another ascendant besides 

that which astrology gives. Thus it often happens that an offspring is 

3o6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

begotten contrary to the star, and arranged otherwise than the figure of the 
heavens dictates. By the force of this imagination many learned men are 
often born. 

Nothing, therefore, ought to be accepted beforehand in the way of proof 
for these uncertain arts short of the operation which takes place through the 
imagination by means of a new heaven, new ascendant, and firmament. In 
proportion as this is good, strong and just in operation, so the judgments fall. 
Let us take an example. Speculation is the wishing to know this or that thing. 
This speculation produces imagination ; imagination begets operation ; and 
operation leads to judgment and opinion. Now imagination is concerned, not 
with the flesh and blood, but with the spirit of the star which exists in every 
man. This spirit knows many things : future, present, and past, all arts and 
sciences. But flesh and blood are crude and imperfect, so that they cannot of 
themselves eff'ect what the spirit wishes. But if flesh and blood are subject to 
the senses, and are purged by them, then the spirit acts thereby, if only the 
body be consentient. These senses are supreme in the uncertain arts. It is 
for this reason they are called uncertain arts ; for who can know what imagin- 
ation is in them ? What does the spirit which is given to them imagine and 
effect ? Yet, nevertheless, the art itself is certain. But the artist who uses it 
may be unfit for the creation of new heavens and the generation of a firmament. 
Because, therefore, there is the element of doubt on these points, credence 
cannot be 'given to opinion, but one has to wait for the issues. At last, 
however, the force and efficacy of these things are discovered. Moreover, 
it is not to fight against God if the future is explored apart from him whom 
God has set over the nature of the firmament. Suppose, for example, that 
someone is going to be stabbed with a dagger. Let this be foretold to him by 
some other person. Premonitions of this kind have often been found true, 
though there might have been strong opposition. Now, if this happens by 
uncertain arts God himself suggests the prophecy, the prediction, and the 
premonition in a manifold way. So many prophets have predicted such things 
by dreams. It was by a dream Joseph was admonished about Mary. And 
since these things did not seem natural to flesh and blood, they were thought 
nothing of until, the event corresponding, they were believed. Now the un- 
certain arts, just like dreams and other revelations, are intelligible. God 
chooses to appear wonderful in His works. For this reason the uncertain arts 
are by no means to be despised, because they eventually become known by the 
result. God does not intend that we should always foreknow the future for 
certain, as can be done by the order of Nature. He wishes us to know, indeed 
but sometimes to doubt ; that seeing we may not see, as Christ Himself also 
was known, yet not known by the Jews, seen yet not seen, heard yet not heard. 

It has been said above concerning the imagination that it draws the star to 
itself and rules it, so that from the imagination the operation itself may be 
found in the star. Just as a man with his Imagination cultivates the earth 
according to his judgment, so by his imagination he builds up a heaven in his 

Hermetic Astronomy. 307 

star. The imagination of the artist in uncertain arts is the chief art and head 
of all. But in addition to this, imagination is strengthened and perfected by- 
faith, so that it becomes reality. All doubt destroys the work and renders it 
imperfect in the spirit of Nature. Faith, therefore, ought to strengthen the 
imagination. Faith bounds the will. 

Now, faith is threefold. There is faith in God. This produces what it 
believes. By faith mountains are moved, the dead are restored to life, sight is ' 
given back to the blind, the lame walk. What marvels faith produces if 
imagination looks to God with full faith which is unbroken and unmutilated. 
We find an example of this in the Saints of the Old as well as the New 
Testament, who, according to their belief, were made to obtain their wish, so 
that nothing was wanting to them. There is another faith in the Devil and 
his powers. Whoever has this faith, to him it happens as he believes, if only 
it be possible for the Devil to fulfil it. Lastly, there is also a faith in Nature, 
that is, in the light of Nature. He who believes in this obtains from Nature 
as much as he believes. Now more cannot be obtained from Nature than is 
given to it and conferred upon it by God. It is, then, imagination by which 
one thinks in proportion as he fixes his mind on God, or on Nature, or on 
the Devil. This imagination requires faith. Thus the work is concluded 
and perfected. That which imagination conceives is brought into oper- 

Note an example of this. Medicine uses imagination strongly fixed on 
the nature of herbs and on healing. Here is need of faith that such 
imagination may act in the physician. If this is present, imagination conceives 
and brings forth spirit. The physician is spirit, not body. Hence infer that 
the same fact holds good in all arts. Moreover, there are physicians without 
imagination, without faith, who are called phantastics. Phantasy is not 
imagination, but the frontier of folly. These work for any result, but they do 
not study in that school where they ought. He who is born in irhagination 
finds out the latent forces of Nature, which the body with its mere phantasy 
cannot find ; for imagination and phantasy diifer the one from the other. 
Imagination exists in the perfect spirit, while phantasy exists in the body 
without the perfect spirit. He who imagines compels herbs to put forth their 
hidden nature. So also imagination in the uncertain arts compels the stars to 
do the pleasure of him who imagines, believes, and operates. But because 
man does not always imagine or believe perfectly, therefore these arts are 
called uncertain, though they are certain and can give true results. The other 
sciences of astronomy hold their own even without faith or imagination, just 
as a mechanic who, if he follows his own order in working, has no need of 
imagination or consideration, and yet finishes his work. 

But, it should be remarked, that by faith water can be crossed over 
without drowning or wetting; and a man without faith can do the same thing 
if he crosses the water by a bridge or in a ship. So also healing the sick is 
accomplished by means of medicine without faith ; but by means of faith it is 


3o8 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

found out what medicine is. Imagination takes precedence of all. What 
this discovers and gives, the other, who acts phantastically, uses. 

Man is not body, but the heart is man ; and the heart is an entire star 
out of which it is built up. If, therefore, a man is perfect in his heart, nothing 
in the whole light of Nature is hidden from him. Thus from one point in 
Geomancy his whole will is accomplished. So, too, in Austrimancy, 
Pyromancy, and Hydromancy. The newly-born and self-begotten spirit 
shadows forth its knowledge and intelligence, in a figure and by a figure, as 
the man imagines, and remains firm therein without any dissolution. It is in 
this way the spirit of those sciences is begotten which at last operates and 
perfects that which is sought. The first step, therefore, in these sciences is 
to beget the spirit from the star by means of imagination, so that it may be 
present in its perfection. After that perfection is present even in uncertain 
arts. But where that spirit is not, there neither judgment nor perfect science 
will be present. Hence wonderful things are now found out in future and 
occult things, which are laughed at and despised by the inexperienced, who 
never realise in themselves what is the power of Nature in their spirit, that 
spirit, I mean, which is born in the manner described, and given and assigned 
by God for this special purpose. 

To believe in the Devil leads to doubtful results, and the thing is mixed 
up with fraud. The reason for this is to be sought from God, who has 
determined that all who believe in the Devil should be or become liars like 
himself. But this faith in God is perfect and free from all defect. It is in 
Nature such as its power is. So, then, the uncertain arts are sciences, but 
with this condition added, that a new generation of the prophetic and Sibylline 
spirit shall take place by which the art and hand may be ruled and guided. 
Who was the inventor of these uncertain arts, I have not been able to 
ascertain. I know this, that these arts are very old, were held in great 
esseem by the ancients, hidden and handed down as special secrets. They 
spent their time on imagination and faith, by which they tracked out and 
demonstrated many consummate results. At present, so much imagination 
and faith do not exist ; but most men fix their minds on those things which 
minister to the pleasures of flesh and blood. These they follow ; to these they 
give their attention. These arts, therefore, even on this account, are 
uncertain, because man within himself is so doubtful. He who is doubtful 
can accomplish nothing certain ; he who hesitates can bring nothing to 
perfection ; he who pampers the body can attain to nothing solid in the spirit. 
Everyone should be perfect in that which he undertakes. So the spirit will be 
entire, and will conquer the body, which is nothing worth. The spirit is 
fruitful. This a man should have perfect within him, and put aside flesh and 

The End of the Proof in Uncertain Arts. 

Imagination has impression, and impression makes imagination. There- 
fore from impression descends imagination. Hence, it follows that what- 

Hermetic Astronomy. 309 

ever be the impression, influence, constellation, star — such is the imagin- 

Hence, too, it ensues that imagination brings forth a new heaven above 
impression, and as the imagination, such is the figure of the heaven. 

Proof in Manual Mathematical Science. 

Though everything in the whole of astronomy be seen and discovered, yet 
there must be respectively numeration, dimension, occasion, and instrument. 
These are the principles of all sciences, that is to say, they are those things 
which concur with all sciences. 

It is difficult to understand how numeration can be brought to bear in the 
case of stars, on account of their infinite number. The greatest part of them 
is never seen, or seen with difficulty, yet all of these must be reckoned in their 
number. It is, however, impossible for a man who only uses his eyes to count 
these. He who uses more than his eyes can count them, but not that other 

The same is the case with geometry, for the measuring of height, depth, 
breadth, etc., is much too difficult to be undertaken by all. That is not geo- 
metry which is handed down among the seven liberal arts. Our geometry is 
astral, not terrestrial, and is known only to him who makes his measurement 
magically, not elementarily, but beyond the elements. 

In like manner, the work of cosmography is material. The invention of 
the art itself is material, not elemental, but rather connected with nigromancy 
and divination. They who practise it examine the state of all things in heaven 
and earth, in what position they are placed and constituted, and with what 
conjunction they are connected. These matters are found out with so much 
subtlety that they will be described by-and-by with reference to the globe, 
instrument, and sphere. 

Now, if a manual mathematician be so skilled a numberer in arithmetic, a 
measurer in geometry, an explorer in cosmography, an experimenter with 
instruments, then he may with the utmost propriety give himself out as a 
mathematician. Of these three departments does mathematical science consist, 
and these four make up mathematics. In this way the invisible body of 
astrology, which is known to the wise men, can be deduced. 

But there are other mathematics, which only concern the Magi. They are 
very apt at making magical instruments, such as gamahei, images, characters. 
For these things, too, are instruments. The art of making them has to be 
sought in magic. Their preparation is part of mathematics. It is necessary, 
therefore, that these persons should be certain and well constellated, fit for 
preparing these things and disposing them in their place. That is, they must 
be virgins. 

So, also, in Nigromancy. It is mathematical so far as making its prepar- 
ation goes. Divination and signature need no mathematics. In nigromancy, 
however, it is necessary that an instrument of certitude, as also one regalia, and 

3IO The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

other defensives be used; for spirits are very prone to obsession. It is, there- 
fore, necessary that all should fortify themselves well against them, since the 
danger is imminent. But where that kind is (if I may use the expression) 
obsessible, it is worth while to know. 

And so with regard to the mathematics required, as has been said, for the 
science of astronomy, let this be settled and determined, that herein is need for 
the most consummate prudence and intelligence. Nothing will be done by 
the common method. It is requisite that a man should be one who discovers 
these things in a more sublime way than by the ordinary and earthly light of 
Nature. There is need, I say, of a higher light, that is, of one that is above 
the artificial. 

In this way, the mathematics in astronomy are proved by means of their 
own instruments, which agree with the great world. These instruments are 
so connected and bound up with the elements and the stars that they assume the 
form of a microcosm, which is itself made from the greater world, but consists 
of a smaller body, yet one which contains the universal world in itself like a 
quintessence extracted from it. 

Here follcw certain fragments aud schedules on the same matter as the 


Concerning the Knowledge of Stars. 

Before all else you should be taught about the stars, what they are ; for the 
astronomer is directed to the stars only and to nothing else. It should be known, 
however, in this place that elementary bodies are not concerned ; also, that 
flesh and blood effect nothing, but only stars. In order that you may thoroughly 
understand this, I would have you know that man's senses are apart from his 
body. Whatever is not corporeal is either star or ether. But of those things 
which have not body there are many species in man. However this may 
be, man's sensation is certainly not flesh and blood. The body, therefore, 
is one thing and the sense another. The body is flesh and blood. The sense 
is soul. The soul, not the body, is the subject of astronomy. But the body 
is ruled by the soul. So, then, the body, too, is the subject of astronomy, 
because the body underlies the soul, is obedient to it, and ruled by it. 
Moreover, the soul is not something eternal in man ; it is not the summum 
botiU7n, but is something mortal existing in man ; it is the man built up in 
Adam. Since, then, the soul is subject to astronomy, and astronomy acknow- 
ledges the star alone as its lord, know that in the star there are many essences, 
that is, not one star, but many. It is known, also, that one star exists higher 
than all the rest. This is the Apocalyptic star. The second star is that of the 
ascendant. The third is that of the elements, and of these there are four ; so 
that six stars are established. Besides these there is still another star, 
imagination, which begets a new star and a new heaven. 

But although, as is now understood, there are seven stars, still the 
astrologer is not so conditioned as to act the astrologer in these seven. One 
is an astronomer of supernatural astrology ; another over the ascendant ; 

Hermetic Astronomy. 3 1 1 

another over the four elements, and yet another over the imagination. Each 
discourses of his own astrology, each one is an astrologer, and each sufficient 
in himself. Now, he who is an astrologer does not rest in one thing, but 
is conversant with all, if he does not expound his own species with which he 
is conversant. But that is an intolerable error which, neglecting the different 
kinds of stars, deals only with the horoscope, the ascendant, and the figure of 
the heaven. But though the rest of the horoscope should not be understood 
by the astrologer, this would matter little if he only confessed that these other 
parts were good and belonged to astrology. For there is a star of the 
firmament, that is, fire, which has nothing to do with the horoscope. There 
is a star of the earth, because the earth, no less than the heaven, has its 
astrologer. So water and ether equally have their own star, and in like manner 
the air. Let no one think there is only one star. There are more ; but 
beyond all that have been mentioned there is one. Beyond the fifth, again, 
there is another supernatural one ; and beyond this sixth, one which is hidden 
in man himself, making the seventh. 

I speak of the seven kinds of astronomy which make up the entire man, 
as has been before pointed out. Moreover, these seven kinds are not under 
seven stars. But I say this, that astrology alone embraces these seven in 
itself, and hence it is necessary to understand how these seven stars are 
essentially conditioned. In this way a perfect astrological judgment issues 
forth, which can be obtained in no other way. For there must be a medium, 
by which the last operates, and another after the first of the four, add also in 
the last. I add this with the view of making quite clear what is not 
sufficiently insisted upon in astrology, that Mars in the sky must be thoroughly 
understood, which looks there like a live coal. For besides this many another 
exists, and, moreover, four others in the four elements, and, lastly, one in the 
imagination. What sort of smith would he be who could forge a horse-shoe 
but -not a nail ? What sort of a carpenter who could only cut his wood, and 
not join it ? Science ought to be perfect in all particulars, without exception. 
What things should be joined, let them be joined. 

In this place it should be specially considered that before the Deluge our 
ancestors, up to the birth of Christ, devoted themselves with constant zeal and 
unwearied labours to the discovery of wisdom ; and now, since the advent of 
Christ, all this has perished and become extinct, so that it is difficult to find 
any of it anywhere surviving. I will tell you the cause of this. Christ offered 
eternal wisdom to the world. When this was offered it was only right and 
just that the inferior wisdom should be repudiated, and the higher acknow- 
ledged. In this respect I confess that I write like a heathen, though I am a 
Christian. For by right the lower wisdom gives place to the higher. The 
wisdom of Christ is better than the wisdom of Nature. A prophet or an 
apostle is better than an astronomer or a physician. A prediction from God is 
better than one from astronomy. A cure wrought by God is better than one 
by herbs. Prophets speak infallibly. The sick are healed and the dead raised 
by apostles ; nor is there any deceit about these things. 

3 1 2 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Although, therefore, astronomy with its light was obliterated by Christ, 
who will impeach that light ? And thus much farther I am commanded to 
say. The sick have need of a physician, but not all of them need apostles. 
So predictions need an astronomer, but not all need a prophet. Distribution 
being made, one part goes to the prophets, another to the astronomers ; one 
part to the apostles, another to the physicians. Each has his own limitations. 
And so, indeed, astronomy is not taken away from or interdicted to us 
Christians, but we are commanded to use it in a Christian way. We are 
created by the Father for the light of Nature, and it is only right that we 
should know and practise this. We are called by the Son for eternity, whence 
this, too, should be known. So, therefore, the light is transferred to us from the 
Father as if by inheritance, and the light from God the Son here in this world 
to eternity. Neither hinders the other — the Son the Father, or the Father the 
Son. By this means man is able in both ways to learn, to know, and to work. 

Having made this excursus, I end my treatise on astronomy, that you may 
know what the stars are, and what power the astronomer or astrologer has, 
in what respect the one differs from the other, and how the stars are situated. 
I have made mention of seven, not for the moment taking thought of one 
other star, which is the Signed Star of the Microcosm, so that really they 
should be reckoned as eight. In the following explanation and proofs all 
these things will be found connected together so that you will understand them. 

I could wish, indeed, that those who put themselves in the place of Christ 
would shew themselves His real disciples. Then the light of Nature would be 
more rightly understood, that is, the miracles of God would be more carefully 
looked into. As it is, mere trifles and deceits are obtruded, in which there is 
no juice, no marrow, no wisdom. If folly and wickedness like this are allowed 
to succeed, what success can there be for the noble wisdom of Nature ? In 
this way no consideration is given either to the wisdom of Nature or to 
eternal wisdom, but both lose esteem together. It is the way of the world to 
oppose every kind of wisdom. This being so, I thought it best not to refrain 
from writing, but by all means to go on. For the renovation of the world 
will be upon us ; and then at length will be found that which is now sought 
after ; and it will be so put before us that nothing of it will perish. It is a 
good thing to keep for our heirs a treasure predestinated to its special purpose. 
This is a real treasure, which is dug up with that end in view. Let no one 
think that I mean here to treat of anything save of the stars, and these are 
sufficiently explained, that being added which so far ends our knowledge. 
What we have deemed necessary we have linked together. And it should be 
known that the medium must be rightly understood ; for without this nothing 
is done ; this is so. 

The higher star governs all lower things. Now, if there is no star in the 
earth, the higher star will affect nothing. But the star of the earth conceives 
the power of the higher star, and is capable of containing it, which else would 
not be the case. It is so also with the water and the rest, as we have said 

Hermetic Astronomy. 313 

Another Schedule. 

I. This threefold operation of astrology has one mode in a figure of the 
heaven. By this it is understood how the heaven stands related to lower 
things, so that a perfect judgment is able to be made. 

II. Comets. What we understand as such are newly-begotten stars, not 
produced at the first creation, but freshly exhibited by God. Such were the 
star of Christ and others like it. 

Images are made from terrestrial things endued with celestial powers, by 
means whereof they heal diseases and turn aside wounds in the case of those 
whom they mark. 

Characters are words which heal diseases and act like images. They 
are drawn from the higher stars and are artificially assumed by the lower. 

Growing Things of the Earth are like Characters and Images. Some- 
times trees are brought to such a state as to put forth flowers. Sometimes 
these growing things are changed into frogs, serpents, owls, scarabaei, 
dragons, etc. 

Spectres are visions which sometimes appear to men. They portend wars 
and other future evils, like comets. They should be explained magically. 

Dreams occur if the heaven and its sidereal spirit sport and joke with 
men, concerning the past, present, and future. 

Brutes are used when heaven works by them and foreshadows the future, 
so that by them we can be informed of some impending evil and misfortune. 

III. The Mind. This is when the mind itself within man expects some- 
thing, good or evil. The origin of this is from heaven, which thus sways the 
mind, and impresses on it its good or evil fortune. 

Speculation is when a man speculates and imagines within himself, and 
thereby his imagination is united with heaven, and heaven operates so within 
him that more is discovered than would seem possible by merely human 

Phantasy is when a fool or silly person speculates, and heaven is at the 
same time in connection, and so operates by him that from the phantasy of a 
fool heavenly influence is recognised. 

IV. Visions are apparitions artificially produced in mirrors, crystals, 
nails, etc. 

Astral Spirits are those which dwell in man on the earth, separable 
from man, and serving him, as long as they exist. 

Inanimates are men who are produced without the seed of Adam by the 
operation of Nature, such as are giants, lemures, nymphs, gnomes, etc. 

Chiromancy is a science pointing out the stars by the lines in the hands, 
feet and other parts of the body, as we have said above in this treatise. ' 

Schedule concerning the Proof of Magic. 
From what source magic proceeds, and how it interprets new signs. 
" There shall be signs." 

314 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Besides, how impressions from above impinge upon lower bodies. More- 
over, what effect heaven has with its signs, as earth with its medicines. In 
order that you may understand this source from which magic draws its inter- 
pretation, attend. All sciences, all branches of human knowledge, are from 
God. These sciences either come from the light of Nature, or are learnt by 
instruction, or are secretly instilled by God. 

The first mode is that in which man learns by himself without the 
instruction of man. For magic is not learnt by its interpretation, unless it be 
spoken from on high. 

The magician is born, as all arts are born, as is the case with those who 
find out new arts, as letters, or Montanica : — 

The Magi have the new spirit, not created by this or that man. That 
spirit is born by asking, by searching, by knocking, out of the heart and by 
the spirit. 

Note. — Whatever God says. He adds an interpreter thereto. Let none, 
therefore, ask, whence is this ? It is from God. He, for example, has said, 
" There shall be signs in the sun and in the moon." This needs interpretation. 
It cannot be explained by Nature, because it transcends the limits of Nature. 
The spirit must concur with what is said, and he who interprets this is a 
magician. The spirits are in the stars. 

Here ends the Treatise on Hermetic Astronomy. 





EVERY thing which is generated and produced of its elements is divided 
into three, namely, into Salt, Sulphur, Mercury. Out of these a 
conjunction takes place, which constitues one body and an united 
essence. This does not concern the body in its outward aspect, but only the 
internal nature of the body. 

Its operation is threefold. One of these is the operation of Salt. This 
works by purging, cleansing, balsaming, and by other ways, and rules over 
that which goes off in putrefaction. The second is the operation of Sulphur. 
Now, sulphur either governs the excess which arises from the two others, or it 
is dissolved. The third is of Mercury, and it removes that which changes into 
consumption. Learn the form which is peculiar to these three. One is liquor, 
and this is the form of mercury ; one is oiliness, which is the form of sulphur ; 
one is alcali, and this is from salt. Mercury is without sulphur and salt ; 
sulphur is devoid of salt and mercury ; salt is without mercury or sulphur. 
In this manner each persists in its own potency. 

But concerning the operations which are observed to take place in com- 
plicated maladies, notice that the separation of things is not perfect, but two 
are conjoined in one, as in dropsy and other similar complaints. For those 
are mixed diseases which transcend their sap and tempered moisture. Thus, 
mercury and sulphur sometimes remove paralysis, because the bodily sulphur 
unites therewith, or because there is some lesion in the immediate neighbour- 
hood. Observe, consequently, that every disease may exist in a double or 
triple form. This is the mixture, or complication, of disease. Hence the 
physician must consider, if he deals with a given simple, what is its grade in 
liquor, in oil, in salt, and how along with the disease it reaches the borders of 
the lesion. According to the grade, so must the liquor, salt, and sulphur be 
extracted and administered, as is required. The following short rule must be 
observed : Give one medicine to the lesion, another to the disease. 

• The doctrine of the three prime principles being the foundation of the physics and philosophy of Paracelsus, it is 
the intention of this brief Appendix to exhibit that doctrine in connection with the origin of diseases. 

3 1 8 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


Salts purify, but after various manners, some by secession, and of these 
there are two kinds— one the salt of the thing, which digests things till they 
separate — the other the salt of Nature, which expels. Thus, without salt, no 
excretion can take place. Hence it follows that the salt of the vulgar assists 
the salts of Nature. Certain salts purge by means of vomiting. Salts of this 
kind are exceedingly gross, and, if they do not pass oif in digestion, will 
produce strangulation in the stomach. Some salts purge by means of 
perspiration. Such is that most subtle salt which unites with the blood. Now, 
salts which produce evacuation and vomiting do not unite with the blood, 
and, consequently, produce no perspiration. Then it is the salt only which 
separates. Other salts purge through the urine, and urine itself is nothing 
but a superfluous salt, even as dung is superfluous sulphur. No liquor super- 
fluously departs from the body, for the same remains within. Such are all 
the evacuations of the body, moisture expelled by salt through the nostrils, the 
ears, the eyes, and other ways. This is understood to take place by means of the 
Archeus from these evacuations. Now, as out of the Archeus a laxative salt 
comes forth, of which one kind purges the stomach because it proceeds from 
the stomach of the Archeus, so another purges the spleen because it comes 
from the spleen of the Archeus ; and it is in like manner with the brain, the 
liver, the lungs, and other members, every member of the Archeus acting upon 
the corresponding member of the Microcosmus. 

The species of salt are various. One is sweet as cassia, and this is a 
separated salt which is called antimony among minerals. Another is like 
vinegar, as sal gemmae ; yet another is acid, as ginger. Another is bitter, as 
in rhubarb or colocynth. So, also, with alkali ; there is some that is generated, 
as harmel ; some extracted, as scammony ; some coagulated, as absinth. In 
the same way, certain salts purge by perspiration alone, certain others by 
consuming alone, and so on. Wherever there is a peculiar savour, there is 
also a peculiar operation and expulsion. The operation is of two kinds — that 
which belongs to the thing and the extinct operation. 


Sulphur operates by drying and consuming that which is superfluous. 
Whether this proceeds from itself or from others, it must be completely con- 
sumed by means of sulphur, if it be not subject to salts. Thus, a medicine for 
dropsy is made of the salts produced out of the liver of the Archeus to consume 
the putrefied and corrupt. But to remove the disease itself the strength of 
sulphur is necessary, to which diseases of this kind are subjected in virtue of 
their origin. Yet, it is not every kind of sulphur which will eff"ect this purpose, 
and so it results from the nature of the element that every sickness produced 
by the nature of the body has its contrary from the nature of the element. 
This takes place both universally and particularly, and, consequently, from the 

Concerning the Three Prime Essences. 319 

genera of an element the genera of diseases may be recognised. One is 
always the sign and proof of the other. 

The same sign occurs in the case of mercury ; it assumes that which 
separates from salt and sulphur. Hence are produced diseases of the ligaments, 
arteries, joints, limbs, and the like. Hence in these diseases we must simply 
remove the liquor of mercury. But the ailments themselves ought to be 
removed by those things which are favourable and conducive to them, when 
proof has been obtained of the speciality of the thing in Nature. 


The physician should understand the three genera of all diseases as 
follows. One genus is of salt, one of sulphur, and one of mercury. Every 
relaxing disease is generated from salt, as dysentery, diarrhoea, lienteria, etc. 
Every expulsion is caused by salt, which remains in its place, whether in a 
healthy or suffering subject. The salt in the one case is, however, that of 
Nature, while in the other it is corrupted and dissolved. Cure must be accom- 
plished by means of the same salts from which the disease had origin, even as 
fresh salt will rectify and purify dissolved salt. The sulphureous cure follows as 
a certain confirmation of the operation in salt. 

All diseases of the arteries, ligaments, bones, nerves, etc., arise from 
mercury. In the rest of the body the substance of corporeal mercury does not 
dominate. It prevails only in the external members. Sulphur softens and 
nourishes the internal organs, as the heart, brain, and reins, and their diseases 
also may be termed sulphureous, for a sulphureous substance is present in 
them. Let us take colic as an example. Salt is the cause of this, because this 
predominates in the intestines. In its dissolved state it produces one kind of 
colic, and when it is excessively hard it produces another kind ; for when it 
passes from its own temperature it becomes excessively humid or excessively 
dry. In the cure of colic by elemented salts the human salt must be rectified. 
But if a salt other than from sulphur be applied, you must regard it as a 
submersion of salt and not a cure of colic. Similarly, in the case of mercurial 
and sulphureous diseases, each must be administered to its counterpart, not a 
contrary to a contrary. The cold does not subdue the hot, nor vice versa, in 
congenital diseases. The cure proceeds from the same source as the disease, 
and has generated the place thereof. 


The genera of diseases are also divided into various branches, locusts, and 
leaves. Yet is there one cure. The mercurial disease is an instance, for mer- 
curial liquor separates into many branches, locusts, and leaves. So all varieties 
of pustules are subject to Mercury, because the disease is mercurial. But some 
are subject to common and others to metallic mercury, some to mercury 

320 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

xylohebenus, some to mercury of antimony. It is necessary, therefore, to 
know that liquor of mercury, which cures that which the salt of mercury 
dissolves, and it has also an incarnative virtue. For mercury is multiplex. 
In metals the liquor of mercury is like a metal ; in juniper and ebony it is like 
wood ; in marcasite, talc, and cachimia, it is like a mineral ; in brassatella, 
persicaria, and serpentina, it is like grass, and yet there is but one mercury 
variously manifested. What has been said of pustules must be understood 
also of ulcers, of which some are cured by the mercury of persicaria, some by 
the mercury of arsenic, and some by the mercury of xylon guaico. Con- 
sequently, the physician should know the tree of diseases and the tree of 
natural substances, but of these there are indeed many. There is the tree of 
salt, which is twofold, namely, of rebis and of the element. There is also the 
tree of sulphur and there is the tree of mercury. Accordingly, the physician 
must guard against inserting two trees into one cure ; he must remember that 
Mercury must be administered for mercurial, salt for saline, and sulphur for 
sulphurous diseases. To each malady let the corresponding remedy be applied. 
So are there only three medicines as there are three forms of diseases. 


In fine, the physician should classify diseases under the name of their 
medicine. It is opposed to the usage of art to say that a complaint is, for 
example, jaundice ; any rustic knows this. Let him say rather : This is the 
disease of Leseolus. Thus, in one word, you comprehensively express the 
cure, property, name, quality, disposition, art, and science thereof. For 
Leseolus cures jaundice and nothing else. I would persuade every one to 
become accurately acquainted with the trees, for he who knows not their seed 
is involved in fundamental errors. So also we must say that this or that is a 
disease of gold, and not that it is leprosy. In like manner let him speak of 
disease of the tincture, whence it will be evident that the complaint is one 
which belongs to age, for the tincture regenerates age. So also we shall 
have a disease of vitriol, and this is epilepsy, which is cured by the oil or 
spirits of vitriol. I have comprehended these matters under a theory because 
of the special mode from which it is first deduced and the mysteries of Nature 
which were hidden by alchemical authors. From these I prove my theory of 
the elementary in its production and the annual in its generation. Let us 
instance the operation and virtue of Mercury. There are many of these 
operations and virtues both in the elementated and the annual, which 
experience teaches to those who know in what things Mercury and in what 
things other spirits lie hidden. They also will know how to prepare that 
Mercury, and how to form one kind into a topaz, another into crocus 
Sandalius, a certain other into a spirit, and any they choose into the exaltation 
which best suits it. The power of flesh astringents and flesh formers for 
wounds proceeds from Mercury alone, in which there is no sulphur and no salt, 

Conceiiting the Three Prime Essences. 321 

and the same is extracted and produced into its own pure liquor. But some 
Mercury is quicker in operation than others, as the Mercury in resin, which is 
quicker than that in mumia or tartar. The same process must be followed 
with sulphur and salt ; the physician must understand their exaltations if he 
would cure his patients. I know perfectly well that Porphyrius would marvel 
were he to hear that Mercury becomes sapphire and a noble jasper because he 
has not seen it or handled it. 


Ginger is diaphoretic by reason of the salt out of the body whereof it is 
made. But that virtue belongs to the fire, through which generations boil 
up, as is held in philosophy, and by reason of this boiUng up it removes 
obstacles, and reduces or elevates the humours of sulphur, salt, and Mercury 
to the second, third, and fourth grade of ebullition. And as it is constituted 
out of the igneous nature of salt, so it also ascends a grade, by which grade 
the humidities distil through the pores and guttas. Thus purifiers perform 
their work by the sole force of salt, as, for example, honey. The balm of salt 
is situated in honey, which, consequently, does not putrefy. For balm is the 
most noble salt which Nature has produced. 

Attractive force is of sulphurous nature or essence. Mastic is a sulphur 
thus produced, and so also opopanax, galbanum, and others. Nor must we 
accept the axiom of physicians, that it is the property of heat to attract. We 
should rather say that it is the property of sulphurs to attract. Hot things 
only attract in so far as they burn, but that which burns is sulphur, which is 
not fixed, and hence evaporates like gums. Laxatives also attract like a 
magnet from those places where they are not. But the reason why salts 
attract is that salt is impressed upon sulphur and coagulated by means of the 
spirit of sulphur. Therefore, it attracts from places more distant than itself. 
Thus there are aperients of sulphur, whether cold, or green, or purple red, 
of any fashion whatever. For it is the nature of aperient sulphur to operate 
and to drive before it every moveable thing which it reaches. Nor is it true, 
as physicians say, that it is the nature of cold to cause evacuation. 


What we should know about tonics is explained by the Archeus, who is 
like man, and remains hidden in the four elements — being one Archeus indeed, 
but divided into four parts. He therefore is the great cosmos and the small man, 
and one is like to the other. From Archeus proceeds the force of tonics. That 
from the heart of Archeus acts as a tonic to the heart, as gold, emeralds, 
corals, and the like. That which proceeds from the liver of Archeus strengthens 
the liver of the lesser world. Thus, neither Mercury, sulphur, nor salt, bring 
out this kind of healing virtue. But the heart of the elements sends it forth ; 
from this does that flow. In the elements there is a force and potency which 

32 2 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

produce the tree from the seed ; thence it derives the strength by which it 
bcomes erect and stands fast. So, also, by an external strength which the eyes 
see do hay and straw grow up. There is a like strength in animals, by virtue 
of which they stand and move. Moreover, there is another strength which is 
not visible to the eye, but is inherent and is the principle of health in the 
subject wherein it abides. This is the spirit of Nature, which if a thing have 
not, it perishes. This spirit remains fixed in its own body. The same 
strengthens man. In this manner does the strength in all the limbs of Archeus 
flow down into the lower world by means of vegetables. 





SINCE it is becoming to Theophrastus that he should philosophize 
further concerning long life, it is necessary, in the first place, and 
worthy to be known, in my judgment, what life is, especially immortal 
life, which subject the ancients completely passed over, as I believe, either 
because it was by them unknown, or was not sufficiently understood. Hence 
it is that so far they have made provision only for the mortal life. Now, I will 
straightway define what life is. Life, by Hercules, is nothing else than a 
balsamite mumia, preserving the mortal body from mortal worms and from 
dead flesh, together with the infused addition of the liquor of salts. Moreover, 
our life is long, for neither spirits nor the light of Nature affirm that it is 
short. The life of the ignorant is short, with art it is long. What is shorter 
than art ? What is longer than life, at least among those who are not super- 
stitious ? Further, what is more durable, more healthful, and more vital than 
balsam ? What is more transient, more weak, and more mortal than the 
physical body ? Its measure varies between long and short. Why, therefore, 
is life long and why is it short ? But that life which is of the supercelestial- 
physical is outside our rules. The pomp of our authority extends only over 
the mortal body, and is regulated, so to speak, by art unto the third terminus, 
unto the fourth, even unto the fifth. So much for the living body. What, 
then, about death, and what is death ? Certainly nothing else than the domi- 
nion of balsam, the destruction of mumia, the ultimate matter of salts. The 
separation of immortal from mortal things produces a dissolution of the mortal 

* This Appendix may be regarded as serving two purposes. The subject of long life is, of course, a highly important 
branch of the Hermetic Mystery, and whatever Paracelsus wrote concerning it should be included in a collected edition 
of his Hermetic writings. But the alternative treatise entitled De Vita Longa shews Paracelsus at his darkest, and, 
it may be added, at his worst. From beginning to end it is not only unintelligible, but almost incapable of translation. 
It is well that one specimen of his really arcane manner should be given to the reader, so that he may regard more 
hopefully the difficulties which encompass the comparatively lucid works which have preceded. The present version 
has been reasonably compressed, but it can only be affirmed that it interprets the original about as accurately as can be 


324 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

members. But this is according-ly called long life from the beginning. This 
also is short life, that is to say, it is said of death. Now, death is not life, but 
art is longer than this death. These are the dissolutions of life, also digested 
separations of that which is pure, of life long and healthy, both mortal and 
immortal, which the day of birth has united and conjoined, and that from both 
bodies. For every conjunction of perishable things of a diverse kind brings 
about dissolution, and how much more then will the conjunction of things 
natural with things which are beyond Nature be also followed by dissolution ? 
For the cause of death is an empirical war, scarcely different from a duel 
taking place between the mortal and immortal. Disease may be compared 
to the javelin, and the Anthos to the breast-plate. What else is there over and 
above the struggle which these carry on ? Herein is the fountain and origin 
of the generation of disease which presently death follows. Hence we under- 
stand what life is, both the mortal and immortal. 


In order to the clear understanding of what has been already said, I 
consider that I should next speak of the physical body. The end of the 
physical body is the sustentation of all those things of which we have been 
treating. Herein we should divide our examination after the following 
manner. In the first place, let its parts be considered, not only the special 
organs but those which are distributed over the whole body, including a 
right understanding of the marrows, the conditions, the uses of tendons, the 
forms of bones and cartilages, the nerves, the properties of flesh, the virtues 
of the seven chief members, bearing throughout this rule in mind. In the 
first place, we must thoroughly know the whole rationale and nature both of 
the physical body and the physical life. Now, the body and the life of the 
physical body are alike mortal. But from that which is mortal nothing can 
be elicited in the direction of long life, and thus with regard to the arcanum 
and the elixir, in this our Monarchia, neither the body nor the mortal life 
ought to be considered. For long life is a thing outside the body, is preserved 
apart from the body, and the body is inferior thereto. Moreover, when the 
body intervenes, a dissolution of either life takes place. On this subject the 
Empiric Muse and the medical sophists, following the method of the 
Spagyrites, preserved the body as a balsam to avoid occasioning death, 
whereas the balsam is the mumia of life, not of the body, forgetting, mean- 
while, that death was not in life, for the death of life is nothing else than a 
certain dissolution of the body from the immortal. When this takes place, 
then the body dies. This was the mistake of Hippocrates throughout all his 
prescriptions, namely, that he administered to the body instead of to the soul, 
and that he proposed to preserve the mortal by means of the mortal. The 
body is a creature, but not so the life, and it is indeed nothing but the 
daughter of death. Therefore, from Archa descended that which is immortal. 

A Book concerning Long Life. 325 

But you will say that the Hippocratic Muse is not altogether to be referred to 
death. Be it so, but you will find a much easier way to health, since the 
Magnale has descended from above. For God gave unto Hippocrates only 
those things which are creatures, and among these even the chief mysteries 
were not imparted in their fulness. To this body God has added another body 
which is to be regarded as celestial, that, namely, which exists in the body of 
life. Hereof I, Theophrastus, affirm that this is the work and this the labour, 
namely, lest it collapse into the dissolution which is of mortal things and 
belongs to this body alone. And although dissolution can take place in that 
perishable body, and from this dissolution may be gathered a loss of the 
heavenly body, yet it cannot stand in the way of long life, by reason of the 
restoration which must shortly take place, so that the body may be altogether 
without any defect, for as fire continues to live so long as wood is present, 
even is it the same in the case of long life, so long as the body out of Archa is 
present, because the body as a body is to be preserved by the intervention of 
a body, which extrinsically grows strong. By means of this it is preserved. 
For the body is nothing else than the subject wherein the long life of the 
eternal body flourishes. So much for the physical body. 


It is needful that we should now state after what manner the matter of 
the same is to be preserved from all corruption. In the first place, whatso- 
ever the body corrupts in itself the same is to be restored by a foreign body, 
that is to say, as the Monarchia of the Spagyrists does not admit, by the 
common nature of balsam which labours to preserve the body. For as it is 
impossible that wood should not be consumed by fire, so it is impossible for 
the body not to be at length corrupted by life. Therefore, those who are 
skilled in essential things, who think they can attain long life as a balsam, are 
the less to be heeded, since the nature of the balsam is rather to preserve the 
body from corruption lest there should be a vacuum in the body. For every 
vacuum is a disease of that place, or a sickness in the body, or, again, it is a 
certain atrophy of long life. For long life has place in the perfect body ; in 
the imperfect it continually fails until it is dissolved in death. We know that 
the physical body can be sustained from death, and that by virtue of its innate 
mumia. These things have reference to a healthy life, not to a long one, 
which is a terminus for the physical body. But it will be worth while before 
we explain long life to first exhibit and ensure a healthy life. There are 
certain things which ward off diseases. It is to be observed, therefore, that 
corruption is to be removed from the body, and that which blazes forth in 
long life is to be again returned to the refrigerium. Wherefore, in this place 
the specifics of Nature which are prepared for this purpose must necessarily 
defend the body wasted by any disease, which is the duty of the physicians, 
but in long life nothing of the kind is required. And now concerning short 

326 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

life. The specifics for given diseases have nothing to do with long life ; they 
are used solely to fortify the body. It makes little difference as to long life 
whether provision is made against fevers, etc. For as long as the spirit of 
Nature remains it preserves the celestial body, and the long life remains, 
together with the torture of diseases. Death here is not ready, for as long as 
the body is committed to the care of the physician there is death, but not the 
celestial body, for out of the body flows a poison into life which so inflames it 
that it bursts forth altogether into bad flesh, and seeing that death takes its 
origin from corrosives, and a certain arsenical realgar is for all, therefore it 
does not cease from the nature of a poison until it has satisfied its nature 
and consumed the body, converting it into incinerated eschara. Nor after the 
end will it cease from its malice therein. TherefortJ, a double praxis is to be 
begun — one to preserve life, and the other to repress the body and to alleviate 
it from day to day by reason of the corruption which takes place daily. 


Whereas, by the nature of its creation, the body, and its physical life, passes 
as one part into the composition of the form, and because the physical body is 
the half, being the whole with the celestial, the physician ought to give more 
consideration to the question how the major physical man is to be preserved. 
For in the major life consists long life, but in the minor is the subject of 
mortality, and this is implanted according to predestination, both the body and 
the celestial life in the physical body, which, as an individual companion, 
accompanies this conjunction. Now, it is to be understood concerning pre- 
destination that there are some things which are free therefrom, and are 
therefore disposed according to the Divine Will, without the violation of 
any law. Further, when another conjunction of these two forms has been 
produced, of the natural, that is to say, and of that which is beyond Nature, 
into the form of Nature, and when it is completely elicited in the matrix 
that there are two fathers and one son, two mothers and one daughter, 
and that these four persons generate, this celestial seed produces, together 
with the mortal, that animal which appears when born, the elemental seed, 
and also the celestial at the same time. For in this place the corporal seed 
truly works, which also ought to be preserved in the predestination of the 
natural channel, for that which is beyond Nature ought to be considered in 
the first place, in order that by these things even those which are beyond 
Nature may be preserved. Thus a boy is designated as the heir of two 
inheritances — of the nature and of the essence which exists from Nature, 
according to the decree of the creation which comes forth at the same time, 
and of that also from him who is the parent beyond Nature, which parent 
rules the body and governs it. Out of the two, that is to say, from these 
parents, arises a conjunction of, matrimony from on high. For Adam ob- 
tained nothing from his creation, nor was he made subject to ascending signs 
or to any other matters. 

A Book concerning Long Life. 327 

Nothing, therefore, out of the four stars can participate with man. For 
the stars and the homuncula are not divided, but man has received long life from 
that which is beyond Nature. In the first place, the physician is to be admon- 
ished in order that he may possess and use the truth, not following everywhere 
the figments of the unskilled, who have written most frigidly on the matter, that 
he should pay more attention to the things which are beyond Nature than to those 
which are according to Nature. Next, that he should be fairly acquainted with 
predestination. From this, as from a source, proceeds that monarchia which is 
beyond Nature rather than the specific and qualitative. Hence is spread abroad 
that error wherewith not a few are imbued, so that they determine to study the 
body, and attribute many more things thereto than of right belong to it. Where- 
soever present life exists, it is not in its fulness, and therefore it exists without 
force. This, although it be dead, because it does not operate, is yet implanted 
in the body. Thus, in the case of one who holds a knife to his throat, a 
blow takes away long life. Whatsoever further life arises in the body is the 
congenital life of Nature. To this, however, attention need not be paid, but 
to that only which revivifies the body. Moreover, long life exists as a man 
with us, even as fire put among wood, whereby a man recuperates himself. 


We will discourse briefly of all these things, that it may become more clear 
as to what has been said concerning the parent which is beyond Nature, and 
is engrafted definitely on the natural, also the cause of the dual life of the 
natural body and the parent of that which is beyond Nature. From this it is 
clear that man is born of a double seed. For now from the time of Adam his 
complexion has changed with the nature of the generations in the flesh, by 
means of the importunate and unseasonable operations of persons in their con- 
trary nature. It is clear that neither the sanguine, the melancholy, the choleric, 
or the phlegmatic temperament is born with us. From none of these has a 
complete temperament ever arisen. The physicians should now, therefore, pay 
no heed to the four complexions, for they did not exist in Adam, and much 
less then in his progeny, nor can four such diverse things co-exist. For first, 
as by the intervention of an unseasonable birth, the respective temperaments 
are corrupted, and this not without loss of children (for what is the tempera- 
ment? It is the nature of the parent, and that without hot or cold, black or 
white) ; thus, also, in the body which is beyond Nature there exists a certain 
hereditary seed, and if two human beings of the same temperament unite, yet 
the supernatural semen under which both wisdom and life are hidden is never 
truly conjoined. There is therefore a dual marriage — one which human reason 
counselled, the other which is the conjunction of God. The former is not 
properly marriage, except as the eyes in the senses of Nature permit. In this, 
although a man in every way considers how he may excuse himself and his 
children, and require the Spirit of God to unite them, and profess to be 

328 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

honourable, there is nothing but hypocrisy. The new change of locality is a 
proof. But the conjunction which is of God is properly marriage, and belongs 
to long life by reason of divorce which in this place cannot take place, a fact 
which none can understand without the intervention of children. For this 
reason many are sanctified in the womb of their mother ; these are they whom 
God has joined, as she who was once wife of Uriah and afterwards of David, 
although this in all human judgment was diametrically contrary to a just and 
legitimate marriage. But God effected this union because either had attained 
a long life beyond that which is of Nature, as by heredity, on account of 
Solomon, who could not otherwise be born except from Bathsheba, by a 
meretricious power, with David. Therefore whatsoever is beyond Nature is 
as a treasure committed to God, a fact well known to those acquainted with 
the Spagyric art, and marvellously conducive to long life. 


The practice, therefore, being divided into two, one for physical and one 
for long life, the physician will diagnose from the end, so far as the use of 
either shall come in. But of this life which is beyond Nature, whereof we are 
at present speaking, it must be ascertained whether it may be possible by any 
means to attain it in the physical life, since its sphere is beyond the powers 
which are accorded to Nature, and under it lie hidden the arcana of long life. 
For in this place the impressions which are beyond Nature are openly pro- 
duced ; they flow together into the supernatural life, even as the firmament 
passes by influx into the body which is according to Nature, and although 
supernatural impressions appear, yet the knowledge of them is obscure. 
Hence it is that they received the name of impressions from some, from others 
that of incantations, from others that of superstitions, while yet further names 
were bestowed on them according to the rules of magical art. From these 
proceeds that which the Greeks term Magiria, treating exclusively of impres- 
sions, which they call incantations and superstitions, which also belong to the 
supernatural body. It is important to treat of the supernatural body in 
relation to its impressions, because the whole of Magia has been perverted to 
a foreign use by astronomers ; it has been wrongly called superstitious, and 
a certain medical sorcery. After the same manner they referred necromancy 
and nigromancy to the same source, so that each might be regarded as an 
idolatry, which things, unless an influence intervenes, would come at once to 
silence, for although the manes may answer on every side, nevertheless this 
does not happen without the influence which is beyond Nature, a thing which 
is wrongly believed to be an imposture of Satan because it is impossible to 
man, whereas it can be easily produced, as you see in the case of the 
exorcisms of fantastic spirits. The whole of cabalistical magic is contained 
in the separation of the body which is according to Nature from the body 
which is beyond Nature, and is implanted in us as an image, to be sustained 

A Book concerning Long Life. 329 

and administered, so that although absent it may establish communication 
between those who are widely separated, and may manifest unknown thoughts. 
This at the same time may be very difficult for those who are uninstructed in 
the cabalistic art, seeing that a great mistake has been made even by its 
professors, a fact which is indicated by their translations out of the Hebrew 
and the Canons of the Spagyrists. Hence we conclude concerning long life as 
follows : that out of the supernatural influence not only incantations but the 
arts of images and gamahei have proceeded. Philosophasters have referred 
this influence to the stars of the firmament, and out of the coals of heaven 
have feigned a Mars and Jupiter to govern that body which is beyond Nature, 
whereas this does not pertain to them except in regard to mortal things which 
have nothing to do with long life. Hence the things which are to be used 
for long life are to be extracted from supernatural and not from natural 
bodies, for the whole of that supernatural force is magic, and every magus 
obtains the influence which is beyond Nature^ together with the body in which 
it inheres. The body which man bears about within him js invisible to man, 
as is the case with generation, etc. 


But that you may rightly understand after what manner incantations or 
manes came to be considered superstitions, and how they since came to be 
abused, so that they ought neither to be called manes nor superstitions, know 
that the beginning of these things was from the Protoplast, who united a 
supercelestial and mortal body in his own long life. Now, every phantasy 
and imagination is a principle and special thing in supercelestial bodies. As 
the mortal body preserves itself in its own special substance, so does that 
supernal body in the imaginative, as phantasy is of that body, and is indeed 
itself a body. Whosoever would, in any sense, control a supercelestial body 
of this kind, must be thoroughly acquainted with the method of resisting the 
imagination, for the more frequently that body has intercourse with mortals, 
with the more peril do these things accompany the body. The protoplasts 
clearly overcame this, but their posterity, having no solid and perfect know- 
ledge hereof, deceived themselves like madmen and fools, nor are they 
unjustly considered such. Moreover, that supercelestial body is in no wise 
dissimilar to the stars out of a certain fire, out of which invisible things there 
arises a visible cloud. Such also is the property and nature of supercelestial 
bodies that out of nothing they clearly constitute a corporeal imagination, so 
as to be thought a solid body. Of this kind is Ares. Those who ignorantly 
perverted, and knew nothing of the foundation upon which this art is built, 
feigned that there were manes, which originally were called Fate, and after- 
wards superstitions and incantations. Out of these supercelestial bodies both 
nigromancy and necromancy originated, and so also geomancy, hydromancy, 
pyromancy, and lastly also the arts of mirrors, the divining rod, divination by 
key, and innumerable other things which are classed among superstitions. 

330 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


But, that the physician may know all things fully, let us remark the 
examples of the elders who laboured very greatly in the said magic, that they 
might obtain long life, without any mixture of the Hermetic rejuvenescence, 
and without the art of Spagyric experience, being of the body alone. We see 
the age of Adam and Methuselah, with whom the art of magic began. It is 
vulgarly thought that the Protoplast was predestined to attain the greatest 
possible age, but that the smallest measure of years is allotted to ordinary men. 
The latter point is much insisted on in the schools, but is by no means to be 
approved. The source of Adam's longevity was magic, by means of which 
influence he always lived. The death of Adam is ever to be deplored by 
posterity, not so much because of the fall, but of the science which died with 
him, who alone retained the spirit of the highest life beyond that which was 
of Nature. Understand the same of Methuselah, who was next to Adam. 
There have been other men, indeed, not unworthy mention, who surpassed the 
ordinary length of human life, as Moses, who completed one hundred and 
twenty years, yet not according to the method of magic, but rather of physical 
life, to whom was joined so strong a nature that it attained a great age with- 
out difficulty. Like instances occur in our own days, and will be found 
occasionally to the end of the world. Some, again, by the help of magic, 
have lived to a century and a half, and yet some have attained to a life of 
several centuries, and that by the adjoined force of Nature, which exists fully 
in metals and in other things which they call minerals. This force lifts up and 
preserves the body above its complexion and inborn quality. Of this kind are 
the Tincture and the Stone of the Philosophers, because they are elicited from 
antimony, and, similarly, the quintessence. These and other numerous arcana 
of the Spagyric art are met with, which in all manners restore the body 
exhausted by age, return it to its former youth, and free it from all sickness, 
a fact which is well known to all acquainted with this monarchia. 


There is also another way of preserving long life, which Mahomet 
prescribed to his disciple according to magic, and endowed him with many 
years ; nor did he do this from God, but from the influence which is beyond 
Nature. Because Mahomet, as a magus, exercised this method for the 
unskilled population, not for himself, he has won an immortal name. Archeus 
preserved his life for several years beyond a century, a thing which was laid to 
his discredit, and was referred to idolatry. He was equally skilled in cabalistic 
art with those three Sabean magi who came, not by natural magic, but by the 
force of horses, to the Bethlehemites, and was acquainted not only with that 
which was of long life, but that which is of the intellect beyond Nature. All these 
things proceed from supernatural influence, which rules and governs the body. 
These magi were afterwards followed by those who falsely claimed for them- 

A Book concerning Long Life. 331 

selves this almost divine name, among whom was Hippocrates, who preferred 
rather than that his daughter should remain in her actual form, to transform 
her outward natural influence into a body alien from all Nature — an evident 
proof of the power of incantation. In the same way Serellus attained long 
life and studied the metamorphosis of Nature. In the conservation of that 
body which is beyond Nature the most part were equal to Methuselah, but 
they made great errors in the transformations ; their operation passed into a 
fantastic body, by reason of their ignorance of physical things. There are 
many, indeed, whose length of life will persist up to the last day. Such 
metamorphoses, however, take place without long life, as we see in the case 
of sea-wolves, who, if restored to their pristine form, again become subject to 
mortality. Judge also in like manner concerning the fantastic body, on the 
intervention of food or the osculum of man. All these things are subject to 
the deltic impression, but before they pass into the deltic impression death is 
not present, except as far as a mixed fantastic body is admitted, which 
produces a narcotic form, preserving even to the last day. Moreover, many 
have lived upon the life of another, and that according to the rule of the 
Deltic Nature, among whom was Styrus, who when struggling for life is said 
to have attracted to himself the strength and nature of a robust young man, 
who chanced to stand by, so that he succeeded in transferring to himself his 
senses, thoughts, and even the mind itself By this imagination Archasius is 
said to have attracted to himself the science and prudence of every wise and 
prudent man. Such is the strength of mind in which that supernatural vigour 
exists, that it sometimes satisfies a glowing and, what is more, a ravenous 
concupiscence. Hence arises that contempt of images and gamahei among 
those who abuse this image even to destruction. Hence are those words, 
characters, signs, forms, and figures of hands, imprecations and orations, 
which are the principal cause of incantation, and, what is more, of words 
which are commonly applied to wounds and other diseases. Finally, what- 
soever can change into this form does so by the force of that body which, 
beyond Nature, is implanted in us. Further, out of those impressions which 
are_ beyond Nature arise the stars of the firmament, Venus and Saturn, and 
other planets, so that that influence which is beyond Nature rules and governs 
inferior things. Whatsoever, therefore, takes place in gamahea and 
imaginations, by the accession of planets and signs, all this can be transferred 
to the superior signs. Wherefore those bodies which are perishable can easily 
be set free from death by that supernatural force. Moreover, Venus and 
Saturn, Mars and Mercury, exercising their force in the superior firmament, 
have endowed the most part of mortals with immortality, and that without 
any human operation, by the accession of imaginations, of whom not a few 
exist, visible and invisible, both on earth and in the sea. Some of these have 
attained this point by means of Deltical impressions, not, however, the 
nymphs, as is the case with animal generations. 




HAVING spoken of the several arcana which restore to its pristine health 
a body affected by diseases, we will begin where we last left off. To 
finish what we handed down in former books, and to shew how the 
physical body may be preserved like a balsam, the particular arcana and the 
matter of this second book are referred to the same body. Although, then, 
one and the same preparation holds good, still the practice comprised m this 
elixir differs from that special mode of healing. In this second book the first 
places are held by Flos Cheiry* and Anthos. In this is comprised the arcanum 
of elixirs, and that by the force and virtue of the whole quintessence. At the 
outset, therefore, in order that each may be the more clearly noted, I will, with 
this view, point out in a few words what the quintessence is. Nature pro- 
creates the four elements, from which a certain tempered essence is prepared 
by the spagyrist, as is expressed by the Flos Cheyri.* 

Now, here I think it matters little what the art of Lully teaches on this 
matter, since he wanders more than sixteen feet from that universal Monarchia 
which the Archidoxies prescribe. One thing is Extraction, another Confortation, 
another Melioration, to adopt the terminology of these men, of which Raymond 
makes mention in that treatise which is entitled "The Art of Lully," and from 
these he has" made a false estimate of the quintessence. Since these are mere 
trifles rather than truths, we will pass them by in silence. But the Flower of 
Gold, the Flower of Amethyst, and lastly, whatever is of a transparent nature, 
pearls, sulphurous bodies, cachymiae, and whatever belongs to the aluminous 
zerebothini, including all the genus of other things which the water produces, 
such as carabffi and corals, — these, I say, are all capable of forming quint- 
essences according to the rate of temperation which is wont to be produced 
by the spagyrist through the Intervention of a corruption of the elements. 


Moreover, the sum total of the whole matter lies in this (since what is said 
in the book on the Elixir must each and all be referred to the subject of long 

* Thus differently spelt in the original. 

A Book concerning Long Life. 333 

life), that universal Nature is reduced to the spagyric mixture, or temperation, 
which is nothing else than the goodness of Nature, in which is nothing that is 
corruptible, nothing of an adverse character. And yet, by another method and 
a different one, the same goodness of Nature is found in the tincture, according 
to the prescription of Nature, which exists in the Philosophers' Stone, in anti- 
mony according to the Nature of the crow, in sulphur according to the effect of 
the Lunary, and in the same way in other cases. Nevertheless, in all these 
there is one and the same temperation which among metals lurks under 
Mercury (I mention Mercury, which is in all metals), among gems under the 
crystal, among stones under the zelotus, among liquids under carabe, among 
herbs under valerian, among roots under sulphur-wort, among bitters under 
vitriol, among flints (say rather among marcasites) under antimony. More- 
over, as Mercury is in all metals, so is antimony in all flints (or rather mar- 
casites), vitriol in salt, and melissa in herbs. These are names of the tempered 
elixir. It should be remarked, too, that in elixirs following upon the sulphur 
of those substances which certain people call minerals, there is a quintessence, 
the Mercury of the Metals, from which is extracted the nature of the body. 
Cheyri prevails in Venus, Anthos in Mars ; and the force and nature of these 
are not only that they drive away diseases, but that they preserve that body 
for a long life which is dependent upon the lower influence. With this view 
we will further say that the Elixirs of Long Life shall be embraced under 
many and various names, since the force of them all is one and the same. To 
us (if, perchance, you wonder at this mode of treatment) it has seemed good in 
the meantime to play with words. 


Of all elixirs, the highest and most potent is gold. We will, therefore, 
treat of this first. If you understand the principle of this, you will understand 
that of other substances which are separated from their bodies. The rest, 
which are not separated from the body, will be indicated below when we come 
to mention wine. Concerning the Elixir of Gold, then, so far as relates to 
practice, act thus : Resolve gold, together with all the substance of gold, as a 
corrosive, and continue this until it becomes identical with the corrosive. 
Nor let the mind revolt from this method of treatment ; for the corrosive 
excels gold, so far as it is gold, and without the corrosive it is dead. The 
quintessence of gold, therefore, without the corrosive, we assert to be useless. 
It follows, then, that the resolution must be renewed anew by means of putre- 
faction, although the corrosive adheres somewhat closely. For if the force of 
gold is so great that it preserves the body and renders it free from all sickness, 
nor allows it to be corrupted, how much more itself, and that without any 
infection ? It corrects and purifies everything that is not pure. The corrosive, 
therefore, in the case of gold, ought not really to be called a corrosive at all. 
For the force of the arcanum overcomes all poison. All realgar dies in the elixir 
of gold, and goes off to the tincture which excels in medicine. And thus it is 

334 "^^^ Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

in this way that Potable Gold is produced after putrefaction. The common 
practice of the Spagyrists prescribes this dose, or rather a certain harmony. 
Lastly, you will notice about the elixir that wherever an elixir is brought to 
bear on anything, it so transmutes it that it remains fixed in a form similar to 

Concerning Pearls. 

Now, in order to give greater clearness to what we have said about the 
quintessence, it should be remarked that nothing is nearer to gold than pearls. 
You must, therefore, reduce to temperation the four elements which are in 
pearls, whereby exists a quintessence without any loss of substances. More- 
over, if you wish to transmute pearls into a quintessence, according to 
prescribed rule, act after the method of a quintessence. Do not change any- 
thing except the principle, in which it is necessary there should be joined the 
ultimate matter- which exists as first matter in finishing the quintessence of 
Sol. This is extracted by a prescription of the following kind : First of all 
reduce to liquid a lemon newly re-elevated, in which pearls have been calcined, 
dried, and resolved ; this serves for a resolution into the element, in which 
resolution is no complexion whatever. There is herein an universal force like 
a quintessence. I cannot in this place advise you to admit that method of 
extraction which Archelaus prescribes, nor any other spagyric separations of 
that kind. The mode of transmutation given above not only restores to their 
former power those members which are weak, but also keeps in the same 
vigour those which are strong and robust. So there is much more in pearls 
than in other sperms ; and among these I consider the most excellent are 
those which come from the oysters. 

In this place, too, the homunculus treated of in the Archidoxies bears no 
small part. The necromancers call it the Abreo ; the philosophers name such 
creatures naturals, and they are commonly called Mandragorffi. Still, error 
prevails on this subject through the chaos in which certain persons have in- 
volved the true use of the homunculus. Its origin is in the sperm. By means 
of complete digestion, which takes place in a venter equinus, a homunculus is 
generated like in all respects, in body, blood, principal and inferior members, 
to him from whom it issued. We will, however, in this place pass by its 
virtues, because the subject has not been dealt with, as that of pearls has, by 
those who are acquainted With this matter. 


Concerning the Extraction of the Quintessence from Herbs. 
We have made mention above of that Quintessence which should be pro- 
duced without any extraction, and it is necessary to regard this subject in 
connection with our present opinion. The quintessence cannot be got from 
herbs without extraction, on account of the diversity of those essences which 

A Book concerning Long Life. 335 

are included under one substance. These must be separated, so that the herb 
shall remain a herb and the quintessence a quintessence. Although in every 
herb there are four duplex elements, still the quintessence is not duplicated, 
but one part only. The other part, which belongs to the substance, we relegate 
to those arts that are special, and will treat of what belongs to the elixir. 
This is made quite clear by the example of melissa. Digest melissa for a 
philosophic month in an athanor ; then separate it so that the duplicated 
elements appear separately, and immediately there will shine forth the quint- 
essence, which is the Elixir of Life. Such is the case, too, with generous 
wine, and differently in other instances. In nepita it is bitter; in the tare, like 
clay ; in tincium, blackish ; in the hop-plant, slender and white ; in the Cuscuta, 
harsh. In other cases it must be judged in like manner according to the pre- 
scriptions of experience. 

Moreover, when this spirit has been extracted and separated from the 
other, behold the wine of Health ! The philosophers have strenuously tried 
for ages to attain this ; but they have never succeeded. A good part of them, 
followers of Raymund, have emptied several casks, in order to extract the 
quintessence of wine, but they arrived at nothing save burnt wine, which they 
erroneously used for spirit of wine- All that is necessary on this subject will 
be found elsewhere, in the " Philosophy of Generations." Enough to have 
warned the Spagyrist under what form the quintessence exists in herbs, and 
what it is worth while to investigate in them. 


Concerning Antimony. 

As antimony refines gold, so, in the same way, and under the same 
form, it refines the body. There is in it an essence which allows no im- 
purity to be mixed up with that which is pure. No one, even though he be 
skilled in the Spagyric Art, can apprehend to the full extent the power and 
virtue of antimony. In the beginning of things antimony was developed, and 
was so related to the metals, which were produced by the water, that, when 
the Deluge was over, its genuine force and virtue remained after such a manner 
that it directs itself under the form of influence, and has never lost anything of 
power or virtue. With due cause, therefore, we assign to this alone every- 
thing which is attributable to minerals, whereof antimony includes within itself 
the chief and most potent arcanum. It purifies itself, as well as other things 
which are impure. Nay, more, if there be nothing wholesome present, it still 
transforms an impure into a pure body. This has been dealt with in the 
exposition of leprosy; and spagyric practice makes everything clear and 
comprehensible. But, not to digress at undue length, let us come at once to 
the mode of preparing the virtue of antimony (one jot or tittle of which is 
better than all the texts in your possession). First of all, take care that the 
antimony be not corrupted, but that the total, whatever it be, remains entire, 

336 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

without any loss of form, for, under this form lurks the arcanum of antimony, 
which should be impelled through the retort without any caput mortuum, and 
be reduced anew in a third cohobation to the third nature. Then the dose will 
be four grains of it given in the quintessence of melissa. To this the Archeus 
of the earth assigns nothing further. 


Concerning Sulphur. 

It is specially difficult, yet worthy of all celebrity, to realise the power and 
nature of the earth which procreates balsam, the characteristic whereof is that 
it suffers nothing to putrefy. But think of the resins, whereof the principal 
ingredient is sulphur, and there is nothing which deserves greater praise. In 
sulphur there is a balsam which none who study the diiferent arts should fail 
to remember. In it are the balsamic liquids which do not allow wine or any- 
thing dead to putrefy, but do so conserve the body that there can attach to it 
no evil influence, natural corruption or any impressed on it from without. 
None need be surprised that so great a power is in resins, or that we speak its 
praises beyond the balsam which grows on the earth, and but, as it were, 
illustrates the force and virtue of this balsam. In those which are occult much 
more is found than in those which are manifest. And so, too, much more is 
found in sulphur than in the other departments of resins. In the case of 
sulphur, in order that we may arrive at the method of treating it, proceed thus : 
Elevate sulphur by colcothar in the spagyric manner. Do this so long as the 
fire does not get the mastery, as colcothar is wont to do in the case of sulphur. 
This same fixed spirit is the balsam of the earth, concerning which we write 
very little in this treatise. Its virtue is made clear by experience ; and, though 
certain gums and resins, and other substances of this class, have the same 
nature as balsam, still, I think that among these sulphur is the first and the 


Concerning Mercury. 

The Elixir of Mercury, prepared in the same way as that in which it is 
used for transmuting metals, avails in the very highest degree for driving 
away disease. Its rust, which the followers of Lully falsely call its flower 
is nothing but death. As death consumes and wears away the body, so does 
rust affect the metal. In whatever way, then, this tincture affects it, the 
result will be that it ministers to long life, and the more efficaciously and 
powerfully in proportion as (let the expression be allowed) it reaches the grade 
of a poison, and the more actively and subtly its preparation has been repeated. 
Let no one be alarmed by those fables of Rupescissa, who, as his custom is 
has written at once rashly and frigidly on this subject, namely, that, in the 
tincture of the body, you should altogether avoid gold and substances of that 
kind, which belong to Mercury, and, lastly, whatever is prepared from the 

A Book concerning Long Life. 337 

spirit of salt or of arsenic. Albertus and Thomas have approached more nearly 
to the tincture of mercury (the virtue whereof is of subtle sharpness, though it 
derives its nature from the Archeus), but in their excessive coagulation, and 
also in the degree of repetition wherein they have overwhelmed the whole 
affair, they are entirely wrong. In preparing the tincture they verge on the 
true tincture, as in the following opinion: As metals are transmuted and fully 
fixed, so also is the body in the following manner: Reduce mercury in eleva- 
tion until it assumes the form of a fixed crystal ; then digest it to the point of 
resolution and coagulation ; join it with gold so that this shall produce its 
ferment. Then proceed according to the prescript of Hermes, and continue to 
the completion of the stone. The dose thereof is one grain. Its power and 
virtue preserve the whole body in its entirety. 


Concerning the Spirit of Wine. 

When I mentioned the essence of herbs above, I pointed out that it is 
nothing- but wine, which I would have you thus understand. The spirit of 
wine proceeds from its substance. Wine is a subjection of this just as 
marrubium is of proper and native wine. In order, therefore, to get the spirit 
of wine as an essence, which is truly an elixir, understand thus : As a pound 
of persicaria sends forth 9ij. of wine, so a pound of wine takes not more 
than one scruple. The rest is the phlegma of wine which has no bearing 
on the present elixir. Let the preparation of this essence proceed in the 
following manner : Digest in horse dung wine which has been poured into 
a pelican. Continue this for a period of two months, and you will see a thin, 
pure substance, like a sort of fat, which is the spirit of wine, spontaneously 
evolved on the surface. Whatever is below this is a phlegma possessing none 
of the nature of wine. The fat, put by itself in a phial, and separately 
digested, is of the utmost power for long life. And not only does it avail for 
long life, but this preparation can also be adapted to other purposes by the 
intervention of cinnamon, xylobalsamum, myrobolani, and other things of 
this kind, in the following manner : Mix, and by the use of digestion so join 
these ingredients that with the addition of the above-mentioned elixir and of 
gold, a medicine shall be prepared which removes all contractions and gives 
free play to the limbs. 


The Extraction of Mumia, 

The extraction of the virtues out of mumia is made magisterially (if I may 
use that expression) by its mixture with the essence of wine taken from 
chelidony. Digest it for ten days, and distil for five. Moreover, let it be 
once more digested afresh until the mumia turns into a liquid. When this 
takes place above as well as below, these portions being separated from the 
VOL, Jl. X 

338 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

middle, add the sixteenth part of balsam from woods, and a twelfth in weight 
of the sealed earth of Pauludadum with the same quantity of liquor Horizontis. 
Digest this for its month, then shut it up and reverberate it. In this way it 
ascends to its highest degree. Of all those preparations which are dominated 
by poisons, this is the most powerful and efficacious. 


The Extraction of Satyrion. 

Whatever has to be extracted from satyrion must be procured by means 
of separation. In satyrion lurks a Saturnian power which, as it were, secretly 
steals away and weakens the virtue which satyrion possesses, and so its exalta- 
tion reduces it by thirty grains. Hence it not unfrequently happens that when 
satyrion is used it fails in its effects. It is worth while, therefore, to consider 
how not its form but only its virtue shall be separated. This must be done in 
the following way : Let satyrion be digested with panis siliginis in a venter 
equinus for a month. When this is over, take it away from the bread, and 
throw away the dregs. Then let the blood of the satyrion be digested 
thoroughly and allowed to effervesce. When this effervescence has subsided 
you have obtained a medicine which leaves far behind all others for every 
purpose which relates to conception. 


The Extraction of the First Metal. 

The most complete and perfect conservation of the body is attained by the 
First Metal; and this is so efficacious, not by the nature of its own strengthen- 
ing power, but rather by virtue of the minerals which it contains. For, 
in order to conserve long life, it is necessary to use the prince of minerals, 
since minerals make up the physical body. This is the temperament which 
singly and alone resists corrosives, and Ares operates as much chemically as 
by means of the Archeus. Moreover, it blends the strongest and the weakest 
body in one degree. Strength, indeed, is that which exceeds the strength of 
Ares, and weakness is that which falls below it. That which is taken away 
from the stronger is conferred upon the weaker, and so each is reduced to a 
mean. It is done in the following way : Take the liquor of coral, in its most 
purely transparent form, to which add a fifth part of vitriol, which is from 
Venus. Let these be digested in a bath of Mars for a month. In this way 
the wine of the First Metal separates itself to the surface, and the vitriol of 
Venus lays hold of whatever dregs there may be. Thus the First Metal 
becomes a clear, transparent, and ruby-red wine, whereof the special virtue 
and power is that of all the minerals over the whole physical body. 




LEST anything should be omitted which concerns Long Life, it is proper 
to observe that within the testa and over and above that quintessence, 
there is enclosed something out of which a certain conjunction, both 
of the corporal and of that which is beyond the body, outside of that 
quintum, produces the body into long life. Concerning this understand 
that it is absolutely nothing and invisible. But in the body there is some- 
thing exquisite which not only confers long life upon the microcosmic body, 
but even preserves Dardo itself whole even to the thirtieth year, and guards 
the anthos and the great cheyri up to the third age. This microsmic thing 
sustains both the anthers and the leaves which ought to remain in their own 
conservation throughout the whole anatomy of the four elements. Wherefore 
at this point the physician must note that the whole anatomy of the four 
elements can be contracted into a single anatomy of the microcosm, yet not 
out of the corporal, but from that rather which preserves the corporal. 
Indeed, the superquintessence sustains the quintessence itself as well as the 
other four. If it be proper to give it a just and true nomenclature, I may 
rightly call it the balsam itself out of which life is preserved, which rightly 
separates itself from the balsam of the body, and is such a balsam as 
to surpass Nature herself. This surpassing of Nature is by a corporal 


But of that balsam whereof we have now spoken, which ought to 

produce long life, a declaration takes place in two ways — one which is secret 

and happens by accident, whence it follows that long life is dispensed to the 

majority, who yet have no idea what it is in itself. But the other mode 

takes place by arts, that is, by those who are able to obtain that conjunction, 

nor can it take place without a medium. For herein is situated the point 

of the matter, because in the Iliaster both long and short life are found. 

For that which is adjoined to herbs has its terminus ; similarly, also, there 

is a terminus to that which is of the water of minerals ; in the same way 


340 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

tereniabin, and so also nostoch. Besides all these things such and so great 
is the strength and power of the conjunction itself, that everything which is 
produced out of the four elements is conserved above its first terminus, and 
that is the terminus of Iliaster, by which, indeed, we wish overcome that 
subtle man who says that a terminus cannot be crossed over, which, if it does 
not take place, and passes over, is for this and the other reason. For there are 
two of them, one of which cannot pass over, because the terminus is placed 
in the nature of the microcosm ; ' one is in the nature of the elements, the 
other in that of the quintessence, moreover, also, the other is out of the last 
Iliaster. For these termini consist in the power of the physician, who in these 
can change what he wishes according to his will, except only the fixed, where 
he ought to expect the end together with the mutation of himself. 


Understand this Iliaster as follows, since here three virtues are found 
besides the quintessence. For there is the Iliaster of sanctity, the Iliaster of 
the Paratefus, and finally that great Iliaster. Of the first understand that 
such sanctity imparts long life, according to the industry of him who uses it ; 
the second dispenses it by favour ; the third, being bruised, consists without 
harm in long life. Hence consider the Iliaster comprehended in long life. 
All three are together subject to the microcosm, so that it may reduce them into 
one gamonynum ; but the other is in no wise controlled, for it is acquired 
according to favour. With the third the case is exactly as with the 
Enochdiani and the Heliezati, just as it is clearly the case with Aquaster. 
In the first place, therefore, it has its origin from the elements, as the testa 
shuts up, and the superquintessence is attributed to the arcana themselves. 
The second is ascribed to the Magnalia, the third is out of its own specifics. 
Hence it follows that the dwellers in the earth, the nymphs, the undines, and 
the salamanders receive their long life in an alien essence. For there is a 
death, a time, and a will of that third Iliaster, and he it is who grants to the 
ear of corn that it should bear more than it would by Nature, as also the 
fragrance of myrrh, and the strength in Leris. This being so, the physician 
must consider that a conjunction of this kind takes place in a similar manner 
as the tree of the sea when once fixed and reduced to bondage thereby, can 
also become an approved and constant cheyri ; so by a similar conjunction in 
the microcosm the same thing comes to pass. 

But concerning that first Iliaster, understand that it exceeds a thousand 
species, not that one excels another, but rather for this reason, that every 
microcosmus has its peculiar and, what is more, perfect conjunction and 
virtue : so great is the virtue and potency of Iliaster that by it a dead body 
is preserved alive, for this reason, because that first terminus is transmuted. 

A Book concerning Long Life. 341 

This conservation of long life transcends our powers, but not those of the 
higher powers. Its sustentation takes place as follows — that it confers long 
life, yet without the expulsion of the disease. Life, indeed, it affords, but 
not good health, yet sometimes it affords both, being long life of the kind 
which proceeds from that Iliaster. It lasts for years and is extended, as, for 
example, to the tenth year in the case of one who ought to have died in the 
fifth — a thing which takes place both by reason of the superior and inferior 


With regard to the true Iliaster, the fact is that nothing of the kind can 
be reduced without signification or necessity towards the greater Iliaster, 
which you are to understand as follows. The greater Iliaster which is to 
extend long life of this kind can by no means do so where there is no place 
for long life. Hence observe that such a thing cannot take place without 
transmutation of the place as well as of the elements. That is to say, as the 
four mortal elements are in the testa, every moment producing a new genera- 
tion, they lead forth the same to death. In another direction there is a fixed 
(generation) in its firmament which remains unshaken, neither causing disease 
nor death. Such fixed spirits suffer nothing to perish altogether, whose long 
life is immovable and firm even to their transmutation again into the first. The 
similitude is, indeed, taken out of the text because according to the fixation, 
as I have said, of the firmament, long life is more prolix in one confirma- 
mentum than in another, although each arrive at their first terminus only. 
However, some few inhabitants accompany this kind of transmutation, so it 
is permissible to call it, into the tenth or even into the twelfth, whose death 
follows on the destruction of that great firmament, where bodies, both 
celestial and terrestrial, shall be shaken, yea, the supercelestial also. Not- 
withstanding, this takes place without any distinction of Nature, for in the 
first moment when such mutations happen the putrefaction of Nature 
commences, and that is with a still living body. 


Now, concerning Iliaster, it is necessary, in the first place, that the 
impure animate should be depurated without separation of the elements ; 
this takes place without any corporal and mechanical labour, which disposition 
arises according as man grades himself in mind that he may be rendered like 
to the Enochdiani, not that he desires the Enochdianian life, for in his mind 
he differs diametrically from it. Wherefore it is necessary for the microcosmus 
in its interior anatomy to reverberate it with a supreme reverberation. 
Thereby the impure consumes itself, but the fixed which is separated from the 
impure remains without rust. Nor yet is it a fire wherein Salamandrine 
essence or Melosinic or Ares could be present, but rather a retorted distillation 
from the middle of the centre, above all coal fire. This reverberation thus 

342 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

being made, in its last terminus it exhibits the physical fulmen, just as the 
fulmen of Saturn and of the Sun separate from each other. Accordingly, 
whatsoever advances by this fulmen of long life pertains to that great Iliaster, 
and this fulmination and preceding reverberation in no wise remove the 
weight, but rather the turbulence of the body, and that by the method of 
diaphanous colours. 


Moreover, from that Iliaster of the first power long life of this kind does 
not result, for it affords an inferior grade. Yet he it is, however, who 
separates in that place, and exactly as a fixed thing can preserve a thing 
which is not fixed, defends the microcosmus from death, seeing that its 
operation is not to separate, but rather by means of those perspicuous arcana 
it should conquer that which is undigested, lest its perdition should follow. 
Just so mumia, which, together with the body, proceeds from the birth, being 
itself good, but the body is bad and putrid. Whatsoever life, therefore, the 
body lives, mumia lives also from it alone, for it is its property and nature to 
putrefy and revert to dung, of which it is a member, and this is its continual 
desire. But not so the celestial mumia, for it breaks the worthless part and 
guards the same by its own will, lest it should ever effect that which it 
attempts. Wherefore the following is the tenor of the recipe ; that the super- 
celestial mumia sustains the microcosm more than its own mumia. For as 
often as there is a mumia there is also another terminus. Yet neither time 
nor number are found in these termini, for they continue to endure till they can 
no longer escape a second generation. The physician must be perfectly 
acquainted with the fact that every first matter expels the last. Hence the 
generation of worms begins where the ultimate matter of the physical body 
shews itself. Observe, therefore, this Iliaster, that it not only does not 
destroy the generation of worms, but when their matter is present it does not 
even impede their generation — a thing which mumia should prevent. 


The natural mumia should be compounded out of three chief antimonies 
so that the foreign microcosm should govern the physical body, whether by 
means of the element of water or by means of its metals, salts, etc., or other- 
wise by means of the element of earth, as by its herbs and boleti, or in 
tereniabin or nostoch. For all these are mansions of the supercelestial 
things. Wherefore let no one be surprised that the great virtues of melissa 
are described everywhere. Seeing that in this a supercelestial conjunction 
takes place, who shall deny to it a most excellent virtue? These are the 
magnalia which the Bamahemi contain, and this is plainly Ilech, who, being 
composed out of the true Aniadus, can in no wise be removed from that 
elementated thing— a thing which takes place with exaltations of either world. 

A Book concerning Long Life. 343 

exactly as exaltations of the nettle burn, and the colour of the flammula radi- 
ates. Yet in exaltations of this kind their virtue can be reduced into another. 
Therefore learn to diagnose their exaltations as follows. They are far more 
potent than the nettle, and also ye may collect the same in the true May when 
the exaltations of Aniadus commence. For exaltations of the virtues are not 
only situated in the matrices, but also in supercelestial things. That were a 
common Idaeus and of no importance who knows how to fabricate a single 
thing subject only to the vision, nor besides tangible things can create greater 
things still, but he has constructed another May where supercelestial flowers 
attain their exaltation, in which Anachmus ought to be extracted and pre- 
served, even as the virtue of gold lurks in laudanum. Such, indeed, are 
the virtues of Anachmus : then will you truly be able to enjoy long life. 




WE will in this place complete what has been said previously on the 
foundation of life, and on the life which is beyond Nature. In the 
first place, we exhibit to all Spagyrists the age of Adam and 
Methuselah, after speaking exactly of that long life which is in the hands of 
the highest Iliaster, according to the manner of magnalia, where more facts 
are to be dealt with concerning free will than we can administer out of the 
elements. To make these things understood more clearly we must revert to 
the Enochdiani. A comprehension of the nature of their influence will enable 
us to get at the principle of long life, even without any trouble, as was the 
case with S. John, whose nature comprehended not merely one age or one 
century. Lest I should give an opportunity to the libellous who wrest the 
scriptures, we will define nothing certainly in this chapter concerning the 
life of the highest Iliaster, whether this be present in corporal elements, or 
whether it lives in the quintessence where no body occurs, and where not only 
those live whom we have mentioned, but also those whom we thought buried 
in sleep. All these things I leave to be considered slowly by sublime spirits, 
while we have descended to these. If that highest Iliaster be impelled, or at 
least, if it have need of anything, he will easily attain to whatever is 
Enochdianic, where all our long life is collocated in its proper places in ether 
and in the clouds. But once for all Iliaster has satiated himself, so that 
henceforth he lacks nothing. 


The end of long life is contained within the limit of six or nine hundred 
years. Concerning the source of this life which is beyond Nature, under- 
stand as follows. There are two forces in the power of man — one natural, 
the other of the air, wherein is nothing corporal. Having treated sufficiently of 
the natural, the incorporal force shall close our little book. Miserable in this 
respect are mortals to whom Nature has denied her first and best treasure 
(which the monarchy of Nature contains), to wit, the Light of Nature. But 

A Book concerning Long Life. 345 

herein let us not labour vainly, but in the case of philosophy since it departs 
and diverges from Nature, we will remember the Aniadus, nor will we make 
further mention of philosophy. Having, therefore, dismissed natural things, 
?;>d all which has been treated of concerning things out of the elements, as 
also those which are latent beneath the chaos, that is, the great Iliaster, we 
will have recourse to what was mentioned in the first book. In order, there- 
fore, that we may arrive at the year of Aniadin, or even further, the following 
rules are to be observed. Let not what we are about to say of the nymphs 
offend any one. Here also shall be indicated the force and Nature of the 
Guarini, the Saldini, and the Salamandrini, and whatsoever can be known 
concerning Melosina. 


But in order to make clear at the same time both the place and the body 
in these things, which have to be ordained and disposed according to a 
certain harmony, we must observe the nature of Iliaster, It preserves to 
a period of three hundred, or even six hundred years. Further, what- 
soever out of its own nature admits also the nature of the' place is brought to 
one conclusion, like the former century, but where they unite the nature both 
of the place and the body at the same time, they arrive there, and without 
any trouble, to the six hundredth year. Some who have reached that age 
might be enumerated, did not my pen hasten in another direction. There 
are, moreover, those who for a long time secretly and furtively are pre